October 2004 
Volume 03, Issue 6 
Commercial Airplanes


Jim Bergman runs one of the large, five-axis milling machines found in the sprawling Auburn Machining 17-07 building.The buildings are abuzz again in Auburn, Wash., as the largest airplane parts plant in the world is supporting production increases for Boeing commercial jetliners. But making parts for sustaining programs is just a small part of the story for Boeing Auburn, one of 13 Fabrication Division sites.

After nearly four years of site consolidation, Fab operations at Auburn still offer an incredible depth of resources-both intellectual capability and physical assets-that make it Boeing Commercial Airplanes' area of excellence for emergent and specialty production.

Hot modification programs such as the Boeing 747-400 Special Freighter, 747 Large Cargo Freighter and 737-based Multi-mission Maritime Aircraft are thankful Boeing Auburn is ready to meet tight delivery schedules.


'Like changing the tires at 60 miles an hour'

Dave Hyem and machinist Doug Nelson look at performance reports on one of Portland’s new high-speed five-axis milling machinesIt's not the famed Seattle-to-Portland, Ore., bike race, but it feels almost as arduous. "This project is like changing the tires at 60 miles an hour," said Dave Hyem, work transfer manager at Boeing Portland.

Hyem is referring to the challenge of overhauling the Fabrication Division's Oregon site into the complex machining area of excellence for Boeing Commercial Airplanes -accomplished mostly by moving machine, tooling and process knowledge from Boeing's facility in Auburn, Wash.

The Auburn-to-Portland plan involves

. Focusing manufacturing of complex machined airplane parts in a single center of excellence. That allows the Fabrication Division to reduce excess capacity and total product costs.

. Moving 144 machines and more than 250 supporting specialized tools between April 2003 and January 2005. That will increase Boeing Portland's statement of work by 20 percent and end-item deliveries by 45 percent.


Doug Harper, automated cell technician, builds a thermal anti-icer that funnels hot air off the engines of a Boeing 737 into the wing’s leading-edge slats.BACKSTAGE PASS

Photos by Ken DeJarlais



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