The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


August 18, 2013

Boeing secretly testing new automation for 777X


Associated Press — “There is a competition to win the business,” the senior engineer said, but “the Everett team thinks it has a plan that will be successful.”

“We have room for the wing. We have room for the (fuselage) structures. We have room for the whole thing,” the engineer added. “We’ve got a kick-ass plan.”

That detailed plan includes converting the Everett assembly bay that’s now partly used as an extra “surge line” for the 787 Dreamliner into a 777X assembly line, side by side with the existing 777 line.

Such an outcome, including manufacturing of the composite-plastic wing, could more than compensate Everett for any jobs lost to automation.

Boeing is expected to formally launch the 777X program this fall, which will trigger a huge development program employing thousands of engineers in Everett.

More than 3,000 Boeing employees now work directly on the 777 or support its production. Retaining that work as Boeing transitions to the 777X is vital to the region’s economy.

Gov. Jay Inslee OF Washington has said he’ll make it a priority to streamline regulatory procedures and permitting for any development Boeing requires, and his aerospace office is expected later this year to come up with further training and infrastructure incentives.

The Anacortes project may open up a need for training in new automation processes.

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