Boeing Frontiers
February 2003
Volume 01, Issue 09
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Integrated Defense Systems

F/A-22 gets Lean with new assembly process

As part of a Lean initiatives effort, Boeing F/A-22 employees recently installed a new aft fuselage subassembly "tool-less" join station in the Developmental Center factory in Seattle.

The new assembly process, used to join the F/A-22's boom and keel substructures with minimal tooling, will help save time and money by improving the assembly process and reducing the factory's tooling "footprint." Boeing is teamed with Lockheed Martin and Pratt & Whitney to design and build the Raptor for the U.S. Air Force. Boeing provides the F/A-22's wings and aft fuselage sections.

"This is just the tip of the iceberg in our effort to become leaner and eventually have a pulse moving line in the factory," said Tom Kelleher, F/A-22 factory manager. "Our plan is to replace all the large fixed ‘monument' tools that have been in the factory for years. The new station saves space and gives employees better access to parts."

A similar assembly process for the wings will come on line later this year. When all the new join stations are in place, they will take up 70 percent less space than the current tooling. The program hopes to have the moving line in place by 2005.


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