Page 11

Frontiers December 2013—January 2014 Issue

Get the FOD out of here! 737 mechanic has second set of eyes—for foreign object debris By Kathrine Beck and photo by Marian Lockhart BOEING FRONTIERS / DECEMBER 2013–JANUARY 2014 11 Chris Wang, a 737 engine mechanic in Renton, Wash., is part of a Commercial Airplanes team working to eliminate foreign object debris, or FOD, that can damage airplanes. In this Frontiers series that profiles employees talking about their jobs, Wang describes his pride in building airplanes—and helping keep them safe. I love that I’m working on the engine, a vital part of the airplane. As far as I’m concerned, it’s the best mechanic job at Boeing. We prepare the 737 engine for the airplane. It comes to us from GE and we install all the Boeing parts before the engine gets attached to the wing—hydraulic plumbing, exhaust nozzles, fuel lines. I love the flow and seeing the airplane in progress. From our shop I can see my colleagues hanging the engines on a 737 across the factory floor. I get to see most aspects of the build process, from the airplane fuselage coming off the train, to the airplane rolling out the door. We do four engines a day, every day. But I’m also the shop’s FOD and tool lead, and I help keep my shop compliant with Boeing standards. Any item—metal shavings, a rag or a tool—can end up as FOD and potentially damage the airplane. I perform a lot of upkeep on toolboxes, making sure that everything is labeled and etched and that tools get put back so they don’t become FOD. The tools are shadowed—they have foam cutouts, or special niches in toolboxes—so you can see right away when they’re missing. If they are missing, we conduct a search to find the tool so it doesn’t become FOD. I have talked with the other mechanics about ways to make their jobs easier and better using items such as special FOD trays, or making trays to shadow their tools while working on the engine and being able to place those directly in the toolbox at the end of the day. Another part of compliance is cleaning as you go and making regular sweeps. It’s instilled in our shop: We need to pay attention, especially on engines, and we’re constantly picking up stuff off the ground. If we see something, we pick it up, and my job is to help encourage that. Along with my shop-floor responsibilities, I’m working three days a week on loan with the Commercial Airplanes FOD team. We make regular FOD assessments at the Renton factory and the Boeing Field delivery center to ensure compli-ance with processes, rules and guidelines for FOD and tool control. We’re a second set of eyes. We look at hundreds of toolboxes and take pictures of them. We write up our findings for managers so they can come up with plans to improve compliance. I’ve also participated with managers in FOD workshops to correct issues and put new processes in place to eliminate FOD. Working on the FOD team allows me to see how FOD can affect other areas, not just the engine. I see every aspect of the build, from wing panel build-up to the airplane taking off on the runway. I take FOD personally. I want my family to be able to fly safely on these airplanes. I want Boeing to succeed. To me it’s all about pride in my job, pride in what I do and personal responsibility. When I see a 737 fly overhead, I love that I had something to do with that. n kathrine.k.beck@boeing.com


Frontiers December 2013—January 2014 Issue
To see the actual publication please follow the link above