Spirit AeroSystems is set to automate parts of the production process for Boeing 737 fuselages in a bid to enhance quality. However, the older design of the plane may hinder widespread modernization of its production. The 737’s production is primarily manual, with Spirit working to minimize human error-related issues.
Patrick Shanahan, Spirit’s CEO, has announced plans to deploy automation to replace some of the more manual aspects of production. He emphasized the importance of this move in achieving zero defects and zero escapes, signaling a shift in the company’s approach.
Spirit has been grappling with persistent quality issues in several of its programs, including problems with 737 and 787 structures. Automation is seen as a way to address these issues, and efforts are being made to accelerate human-assisted technology. However, it’s recognized that full-scale robotics might not be feasible for 737 fuselage production due to the way the aircraft was designed in the 1960s.
The company intends to focus on automating forward and aft fuselage sections due to their complexity and confined workspaces. Spirit is also increasing its focus on worker training as well as product testing to reduce human error. Shanahan stated that there is a need to find the right balance between human-assisted and automated technology for a successful deployment.
In conclusion, Spirit AeroSystems aims to improve quality by automating parts of the production process for Boeing 737 fuselages. While there may be challenges due to the older design of the plane, efforts are being made to overcome these obstacles through targeted automation and increased focus on worker training and product testing.