Boeing this week at the Air Show gave the first public details about its plan to use robots in assembling 777 fuselages. Initially on the 777, and then on the 777X, it will use German machines that can drill and fill 60,000 rivet holes on each plane.
Missed in the initial reports was this video Boeing has posted on its website, showing what it refers to as FAUB (pronounced fob) machines, for Fuselage Automated Upright Build.
The video stresses how the machines will assure consistent quality and will save workers from doing repetitive work that comes with potential for injury; not surprisingly, the Machinists union says it is concerned about saving workers’ jobs. A Boeing spokeswoman said any workers displaced by the machines would be transitioned to other tasks.
The video also underscores how mechanized the process will be: Even the positioning of the robots, which are mobile, will be done with “automated ground vehicles.”