Boeing 767 Program Transitions to Straight Production Line

The Boeing 767 program officially transitioned from performing final assembly tasks in a conventional slant position to orienting the airplane in a straight line configuration when it recently faced two 767s toward the big factory doors in Everett, Wash.. The Boeing 767 joins the 717, 737, 747 and 757 programs, which also use this innovative manufacturing technique -- called a moving line -- to improve production efficiency and quality, while shortening the time it takes to deliver airplanes to airline customers.

"Transitioning 767 final assembly to a straight line will help us find and eliminate the waste in our production system," said John Quinlivan, Boeing 767 vice president and general manager. "It requires everyone to continually look for ways to do work better, simpler and easier."

A moving line cycles product from one assembly team to the next. The pace of the line is determined by the rate of customer demand. Parts, tools and equipment are staged along the line so that employees have everything they need -- where and when they need it -- to complete their work. Within a few feet of the assembly positions are support teams, equipped with everything necessary to help keep airplanes moving.

The Boeing 767 program kicked off its transition last March when it oriented the first airplane "nose to the door" for the last four days of final assembly. The airplane is now in this position for the full 10-day final assembly period as teams continue to improve the build process and develop the actual mechanisms that will help the large twin-aisle jet move down the production line more efficiently.

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Vicki Ray
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