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Alenia claims progress with 787 fuselage production

Alenia Composite claims to have overcome the majority its initial Boeing 787 production problems, having hit 100% completion on its most recent fuselage and empennage shipset.

The manufacturer's Grottaglie facility uses one-piece barrel technology to manufacture composite fuselage sections 44 and 46 for the 787 programme. The three-piece shipset is completed by the horizontal stabiliser, which is built by Alenia Aeronautica's Foggia plant.

787 section 
 © Boeing


Alenia Composite chief operating officer Maurizio Rosini says the facility has now completed nine shipsets, including two destined for static and fatigue testing. He adds that a further 15 are in production.

Rosini concedes that initial teething problems led to "some travelled work" from Alenia and the other partners, but he says Alenia has now overcome these difficulties and is "on the right road".

"Now the conditions are completely different because our assembly conditions are improving. On the last shipment we achieved 100% assembly completion on section 44 and on the horizon stabiliser. Now we are not only able to deliver barrel sections, but deliver barrel sections which are 100% complete."

He says that shipments needing further work on arrival at the final assembly line were a "common situation" at the beginning of the programme, but this has now been addressed. Rosini says: "Staring from now, we think that we will not have any travelled work going to the final assembly line in Everett."

Although he declines to give any details about production rates, Rosini says Alenia Composite is ready for a programme ramp-up. He is aiming to hit a three- to four-month completion time when the process reaches maturity at around 40-50 shipsets.

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