iowa744fan
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Time On Assembly Line

Wed Mar 02, 2005 1:19 am

I was reading a recent Aviation Week & Space Technology (I think the one that featured the A380) the other day and I noticed a comment about the 787 (I think in the A380 story). Anyway, it stated that Boeing has set a goal of 3 days for final assembly of the 787 (which would be about 120 models a year). Two questions came to my mind. I may be wrong, but didn't Boeing say that the number of 787s to be built a year was less than 120? I am sorry, but I cannot remember the exact number. My second question is (for comparison) how many days does it take for final assembly of other aircraft (I mean just final assembly, not including time for fabrication and shipping of other parts)? What are the times like for other Boeing, Airbus, Embraer, and Canadair aircraft?
 
ltbewr
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RE: Time On Assembly Line

Wed Mar 02, 2005 1:42 am

In September last year, I took the Boeing Plant tour at Everett. My tour was on the 747 line. They were delivering something like 3 a month, and there were 4 or 5 frames in the final assembly process. The a/c are then towed across the road to other buildings for painting, interiors, final checks and tests. With the goal of 120 7E7/787's per year, that would mean 2.4 frames per week. (50 work weeks per year), but probably closer to 2 per week discounting short weeks for holidays, production problems, custom work. Probably the 737 as a smaller a/c may have production levels well more than 2.4 frames per week, but there may be multiple production lines vs. one for each the current models, 747, 767 & 777 at Everett. From my tour, and depending on the model, how configured, It probably takes about 2-3 weeks for a 747 to be final assembled and another month for painting, interior fitting, tests, before final delivery checks, so about a total time of 4 to 8 weeks.

[Edited 2005-03-01 17:45:24]
 
JDD1
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RE: Time On Assembly Line

Wed Mar 02, 2005 5:52 am

One has to be careful with the term "final assembly".

What Boeing is talking about here is attaching all the major sections of the aircraft in three days (72 hrs). ie three fuselage sections, two wings, horizontal and vertical stabilisers and landing gears and possibly pylons for the engines. Three days is at mature production rate.

The equivalent time for this on the A380 will be 65 hours. This is half of the time currently required for the A330/A340.

These aircraft then need some weeks to test the systems, install the buyer furnished equipment (BFE), engines and APU, painting, preparation for flight and two flights before delivery.
 
iowa744fan
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RE: Time On Assembly Line

Wed Mar 02, 2005 7:11 am

Right, I am aware that the 3 days is not the entire time until the plane flies. I am familiar that this is to be how often a "finished" plane rolls out of the factory, but there are still many days required for the aircraft to be painted and fitted out, and inspected across the highway (not to mention plenty of time for assembly and shipping of components).

JDD1 hit the nail on the head in that I was interested in the completion time for assembling all of the components (fuselage, tail, wing, etc) together and rolling the bird out of the factory. I know that this is an area that Airbus really accels at and that Boeing is working to improve across their lines, so I was just interested in a comparison between different models from Boeing and Airbus, not to mention companies like Embraer or Bombardier.

On that note, 65 hours for the A380! Wow, that is quite an impressive accomplishment I must say. Airbus must really have that process fine-tuned. So, 130 hours for the 330/340 (a little over 5 days)? That is interesting. Are they trying to reduce this further to match the 380? Anyone know what they have reduced the 737 to?
 
JDD1
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RE: Time On Assembly Line

Wed Mar 02, 2005 6:06 pm

In fact the A330/A340s are assembled in two separate stations. In the first one the wings are attached to the centre fuselage and in the second station it becomes an airplane and rolls out on its own wheels. Each takes five days working only two shifts.
Another pair of similar stations are used to assemble the A340-500/600.
The production rate with this system for the whole A330/340 family can be just over eight a/c per month.

The total through time from assembly of the wings to delivery to the customer is 14 weeks.
Painting alone can take nearly two weeks depending on the colour scheme.

The A380 is assembled on to its wheels in one station in 65 hours. From this station to delivery will take about another 17 weeks.

Since the 747 sections arrive at Everett empty and all the systems have to be installed, the time there is likely to be about 28 weeks.

Airbus has what is called a modular assembly system; the a/c sit in a hangarr side by side ie the doors are along the side of the hanger. There is no need to move the a/c during system test and interior installation.

Boeing have to make the best of the hangars they have got which enforces an automobile type line, now moving in some cases. The 747 production system was designed in the late 1960s although there will no doubt have been improvements; but it will bear no relation to the 787 production system, just as the A300 production system bears no relation to the A380.
 
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HAWK21M
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RE: Time On Assembly Line

Thu Mar 03, 2005 8:39 pm

Anyone with Pics/Videos of this Assembly Line,stage by stage.
regds
MEL
I may not win often, but I damn well never lose!!! ;)
 
Whiskeyflyer
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RE: Time On Assembly Line

Thu Mar 03, 2005 10:05 pm

for video of assembly of an airbus A340 click on
http://www.airbus.com/media/video_clips.asp
hope you got a high speed internet connection.

I have been on the airbus production line (not with the tour I add, so you get a more realistic look without the PR spin). As mentioned, its a modular construction and the amazing thing is how quiet the construction building is (I am in a heavy maintenance back ground, so I am used to the sounds of rivet guns, fork lifts, air hoses, guys screming at each other etc) and the size of the A340 assembly hall is vast. Its basically a giant Airfix kit being bonded together, with the most fantastic and up to date machinary imaginable.
How long is production? well how do you classify that (landing gear and engines are constructed in batches etc) everything is on different lead times.
At airbus the fuselage sections are lined up ready to mate.
Last time I was at Airbus one machine was giving problems, on the fuel tests it kept leaking and all I heard was complaints about contract labour (got to blame someone I suppose)
 
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HAWK21M
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RE: Time On Assembly Line

Fri Mar 04, 2005 12:39 am

Quoting Whiskeyflyer (reply 6):
Last time I was at Airbus one machine was giving problems, on the fuel tests it kept leaking and all I heard was complaints about contract labour (got to blame someone I suppose)


Guess its the same Everywhere   
regds
MEL
I may not win often, but I damn well never lose!!! ;)
 
Tod
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RE: Time On Assembly Line

Fri Mar 04, 2005 5:27 am

During the glory days of 744 production, the airframes moved through the five or so stations between body join and the door around five days per station.
That's from memory, if someone wants to know exactly, I've got the assembly line tracking paparwork hiding somewhere around here.
 
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HAWK21M
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RE: Time On Assembly Line

Fri Mar 04, 2005 10:22 pm

Any details pics/videos on the B737 assembly line.
regds
MEL
I may not win often, but I damn well never lose!!! ;)

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