Boeing has unveiled plans to move the entire 777 production line to an adjacent bay at the Everett site by mid-2006 to make room for the new 7E7 family production line.

The 777 will transition to an all-moving line, similar to the concept employed at Renton for the 737, while the 7E7 is widely expected to be assembled in semi-stationary cells. The new 777 line area will occupy building 40-26, the most easterly of the two new bays added to the Everett factory in preparation for the 777 in the 1990s as part of a $1.5 billion expansion plan.

Although originally designed to accommodate a second 777 line, advances in assembly processes and the innovations of lean manufacturing rendered it unnecessary and 40-26 has been empty for most of the last 10 years. The transition of the line into the building recently began with the transfer of 777 final assembly.

Aside from creating space for the 7E7, Boeing says the move allows it to develop a "tool-less moving line" concept for the 777 which will reduce flow time (or days taken for final assembly to roll out) from "the 20s to single digits". The 7E7, by contrast, will come together more quickly as it will be delivered by the 747LCF (large cargo freighter) to Everett in "pre-stuffed" sections.


Source: Flight International