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Humans and robots kick off 777X jet production

Boeing 777X banner
Boeing workers sign a banner celebrating the start of production for the 777X jet. (GeekWire Photo / Kevin Lisota)

EVERETT, Wash. — With the rat-a-tat-tat of a robotic riveter, Boeing celebrated the official kickoff for production of its next-generation 777X wide-body jet.

Today’s ceremony brought more than 200 Boeing workers (plus a busload of journalists) to the building where the support structures for the 777X’s carbon composite wings are being assembled.

The climax of the celebration came when a laser-guided robotic arm drilled a hole into the carbon fiber layer for a 105-foot-long wing spar and its stiffener, and then loudly installed the first fastener.

Workers greeted the noise with applause.

“We’re turning the chapter,” Jason Clark, vice president of 777 and 777X operations, told the crowd. “This is a change in the history of how we manufacture, how we assemble and how we fly our aircraft.”

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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