|The Fuselage Automated Upright Build (FAUB) robotic manufacturing system. Photo: KUKA Systems
[Avionics Today 09-17-2014] When the Boeing 777X twin-aisle passenger jet goes into full production for its debut in 2020, it will be a full robot takeover when it comes to riveting. Each fuselage will be built using automation technology, the result of a collaborative effort by the airplane maker and the KUKA Systems Aerospace Group.
The robotic pulse production line, known as the Fuselage Automated Upright Build (FAUB), will be the baseline manufacturing process for the 777X and prior to that, for assembling fuselages for current 777 models. The pulse line uses guided KUKA robots equipped with end effectors to do the riveting currently performed by workers using handheld tools. The robots will work on the forward and aft sections, installing up to 60,000 fasteners per 777 fuselage. This is the first time Boeing will use such technology to manufacture wide-body commercial airplanes.
The FAUB system, which was pre-assembled and integrated at KUKA Systems in Sterling Heights, Mich., is undergoing the final phase of testing and production readiness in a Boeing facility in Anacortes, Wash.