May 2005 
Volume 04, Issue 1 
Main Feature

How future work gets done

Mechanics/Interiors Responsibility CenterBuilding interior parts for the world's most sophisticated commercial airplane, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, requires more than advanced technology. The ability to interpret, analyze and integrate data is necessary.

That's why a team of mechanics in the Interiors Responsibility Center at Everett, Wash., are engaged in a series of classes on CATIA (Version 5), a computer-aided design program used by Boeing engineers. The classes are custom-designed by the Quality Through Training Program, part of the International Association of Machinists/Boeing Joint Programs.

The need for training surfaced when the Interiors Responsibility Center began piloting new tools and processes for 787 Program work. One of the new tools, CATIA V5, along with a process called Model Based Definition, allows engineers to design parts three-dimensionally without the use of traditional two-dimensional drawings that mechanics use to build parts and assemblies.

But what added capability for engineers required an associated working knowledge of CATIA V5 by mechanics to build parts most efficiently. As a result, engineer Jonathan Robbins worked with Keith Heitzman and Michael Perry from the Quality Through Training Program to design a CATIA course that focused specifically on what mechanics needed to know to work with the complex program.

"The class is a perfect example of how future work will get done at Boeing," Robbins said. "Having both engineers and mechanics on board with this technology makes us all more efficient."

"Before the class was offered, we were often tracking down an engineer to help interpret tool designs," said Mike Cummins, Partitions mechanic in Everett. "Now we can view detailed part information and measure, rotate or manipulate the design as needed."


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