Automation isn’t just a job for the robots: It takes flesh-and-blood workers to make robotic manufacturing work, as shown in a new video about the machines that set fasteners on Boeing’s 777 jets.
Boeing’s Fuselage Automated Upright Build, or FAUB, works with operators and mechanics at the company’s plant in Everett, Wash., to do some of the heavy lifting for 777 assembly. So far, more than 40 jets have gotten the FAUB treatment.
The job begins when teams of mechanics move the panels that form the forward and aft sections of the fuselage into place. Pairs of robots, inside and out, move in unison to “drill and fill” the thousands of fasteners required to secure the panels.
In Boeing’s feature about FAUB, mechanic Mike Jennings says all that drilling and filling used to be done by hand – a task that was “really tough and stressful” on his back, neck, shoulders and arms.
Now Jennings is a robot operator – monitoring views from a camera mounted on the robot arm, maintaining the system and making tweaks to optimize performance.