Advanced Integration Technology is a company name that it looks as if we’ll all be hearing more of – unfortunately for them. If the Chicago Tribune has got it right, which it reads as if they probably have, then these are the poor guys causing the most grief for the Boeing 787 production line. Like a piece of grit in your eye, this small company is allegedly generating a quite disproportionate amount of pain.What Dallas-based AIT does is to integrate the process for joining together the 787′s famous composite fuselage sections at Vought’s facility in Charleston, South Carolina. You can read about the work in their own press release on that contract win. The work is under contract to the Alenia/Vought joint venture Global Aeronautica. It apparently hasn’t gone well.
The date of that press release does give me pause for thought however. 18 August 2005. That’s a little less than two years before the first aircraft was due to be rolled out at the celebrated 7/8/07 ceremony. It’s always difficult to intuit these things from the outside, but that does seem to be a perilously short lead time for a potentially show-stopping contract award to a relatively small company.
Then again, it seems they did well on another contract for the wing-mating. And they have key roles on the F-35 and Airbus A380. So it does look as if this problem is related to the ambitious composite structure. To be clear, I’m absolutely not knocking Boeing for that, but it shows that in engineering, if something sounds extremely difficult to do, it very likely is.
Good luck to all concerned in getting things back on track.