Spirit AeroSystems is considering automating parts of the production process for Boeing 737 fuselages to improve quality. However, the aircraft’s older design may prevent widespread production modernization.
Patrick Shanahan, CEO of Spirit, announced plans to introduce automation to replace some of the manual aspects of production. He emphasized the importance of this move in achieving zero error and zero escape, signaling a change in the company’s approach.
Spirit has struggled with persistent quality issues in several of its programs, including problems with 737 and 787 structures. Automation is seen as a way to solve these problems, and efforts are being made to accelerate the technology with the help of humans. However, it was acknowledged that full-scale robotics may not be feasible to manufacture the 737 fuselage because of the way the plane was designed in the 1960s.
The company intends to focus on automating the front and rear parts of the fuselage due to their complexity and limited working space. Spirit is also increasing its focus on worker training as well as product testing to reduce human error. Shanahan stated that there is a need to find the right balance between human-assisted technology and automated technology for successful implementation.