777 Wing Spar: A Riveting Challenge

By Alex Vasiliu

February 2016

During the initial stages of the 777 project, Boeing made the decision to automate the assembly of the wing spar. This was never done before, and one of the challenges for the system was the real-time measurement of the rivet diameter hole prior to rivet insertion. I was involved from the start with the design for the automatic measurement system.

Our company (a Boeing supplier), in Providence, R.I., provided the electronic bore diameter measurement system. This was in 1992.

To this day, every wing for the 777 is built after the holes are inspected with our system.

My most memorable moment was being invited to the inaugural ceremony, where thousands of people who were part of the project took part. I got a chance to shake hands with the president of The Boeing Company.

Boeing was at the forefront of spar manufacturing technology in 1992, and with the 787, it proved it continues to be.