July 16, 2014      

RBR50 company Boeing says the secretive robotic process it’s developing to change the way it builds the fuselage on 777 planes is in the final phase of testing and production. The Fuselage Automated Upright Build (FAUB), designed by fellow RBR50 company KUKA Robotics, allows fuselage sections to be built using automated, guided robots that will fasten the panels of the fuselage together, drilling and filling the more than approximately 60,000 fasteners that are today installed by hand. “It’s really hard on your shoulders. It’s hard on your hands,” said Steve Blanchett, a mechanic. FAUB offers numerous benefits including an improvement in employee safety. The nature of the drilling and filling work makes it ideal for an automated solution. More than half of all injuries on the 777 program have occurred during the phase of production that is being automated. In addition, the automated system is expected to reduce build times and improve first-time quality of the build process. “It saves so much time. And it saves our bodies,” says Blanchett. The technology is expected to be implemented in the next few years and will be used on the 777 and 777X. “This is the first time such technology will be used by Boeing to manufacture commercial airplanes, and the 777 program is leading the way,” says Elizabeth Lund, VP and GM of the 777 program. Boeing released this video below that shows the FAUB process in action.