Technology StocksBoeing keeps setting new highs! When will it split?

Previous 10 Next 10 
From: JakeStraw9/13/2016 9:31:20 AM
   of 3362
Boeing: China Will Be First $1 Trillion Aviation Market

"As China transitions to a more consumer-based economy, aviation will play a key role in its economic development," Randy Tinseth, vice president of marketing at Boeing Commercial Airplanes, said in a release. "Because travel and transportation are key services, we expect to see passenger traffic grow 6.4% annually in China over the next 20 years."

Share RecommendKeepReplyMark as Last Read

From: Eric12/27/2016 1:58:08 PM
   of 3362
Boeing reinvents the 777 assembly line while production cranks on

Originally published December 27, 2016 at 6:00 am Updated December 26, 2016 at 10:13 pm

Dang Vo, in blue at left, and other machinists build a 777 wing at Everett’s final assembly line. The line is being re-configured in preparation for 777X. The wings are propped up on hydraulic lifts to make construction more ergonomic for the workers. (Mike Siegel/The Seattle Times)

To prepare for the new 777X, Boeing is radically retooling major pieces of the assembly process for its big widebody 777. Despite a slowdown in the production rate, it can’t stop the assembly line, so adding and subtracting equipment requires a complex choreography.

Dominic Gates
Seattle Times aerospace reporter

Boeing is radically revamping how it will build the 777 widebody jet — a plane that still earns it vital profits despite a slowdown in sales and production rate, so it can’t afford to stop the factory while it retools.

An exclusive tour of the 777 line this month revealed a complicated manufacturing dance under way to solve this logistical puzzle. The remodelspansthree assembly bays inside the giant factory and will replace massive, decades-old fixtures with new, more flexible equipment.

Jason Clark, vice president of 777 operations, brimmed with energy as he described the chess-like moves he’s making around the assembly line that churns out the current 777, spurred by the need to get ready for the forthcoming 777X model.

So wide-ranging is the revamp that in one assembly bay, construction crews are busy digging up the old concrete floor and installing systems underneath a new 6-foot slab.

Clark pointed to the remaining patch of newly uncovered soil, where engineers had unearthed anchor beams from the static-test airplane on the original 747 jumbo jet.

“That dirt hasn’t seen the light of day since 1968,” he said.

Remodeling for bigger wing

In about a year, Boeing will begin building the first 777X, which has a carbon-fiber composite wing. Longer and a different shape from the current jet’s metal wing, that wing won’t fit on the fixture that joins the metal wing to the jet’s body.

So Clark’s engineers are setting up and testing new, flexible equipment that can handle any wing size or shape, progressively removing the old equipment, then shifting the new into the spaces vacated by the old.

Despite the looming production-rate cut next summer, all this extra work should stave off some of the job losses on the 777.

Hidden behind the widebody-jet plant’s giant doors is a frenzy of manufacturing innovation, encompassing four major projects:

• A new way to complete 777 metal wings.

• A new flexible system for joining the wings to the fuselage body.

• A planned new, temporary 777X final-assembly line.

• And an entirely new, highly automated system — designed and built by Mukilteo-based engineering firm Electroimpact — for assembling the 777X’s carbon-fiber wings.

This last piece is almost a replica of the composite-wing assembly setup Airbus has in its wing plant in Broughton, Wales.

“We’re very competitive with Airbus,” said Clark. “But there’s just things in industry where it makes sense to be common.”

The impressive restructuring of 777 final assembly is separate from the setup of the adjacent $1 billion plant where Boeing will fabricate the 777X’s carbon-fiber wings, which give the new plane a wingspan nearly 23 feet longer than the current model.

Meanwhile, Boeing is also working on the not-yet-smooth introduction of a new robotic method to assemble the 777 fuselages in another building on the site.

Intricate chess game

Though designed to accommodate the 777X and its giant carbon-fiber wings, the new production system is being introduced now for the current 777 with metal wings in order to fix any bugs in advance of the new jet’s debut.

About 80 to 100 current-model 777s will be built on the new system before the first 777X shows up, Clark said.

In the first piece of the puzzle, the metal wings are already being completed in a totally new way.

Mechanics formerly finished the wings by installing the control surfaces and engine pylons while perched high on the slanted deck of a monumental fixture where the wings are joined to the center-fuselage section.

This month, mechanics began completing the wings at ground level, able to walk around the 106-foot-long structure as it rests on hydraulic jacks that raise or lower it to provide access.

The wings now arrive complete and “fully stuffed” with all systems for joining to the center-fuselage section in that big monumental wing-to-body join fixture.

And already the next phase of the 777 plan is under test in the adjoining bay that formerly housed the extra “surge” line for the 787 Dreamliner: a new way of doing the wing-to-body join.

Boeing is testing a system with the completed wings each supported by three giant jacks. In computer-controlled unison, these move the wings along the floor into the attachment position next to the center-fuselage section, which sits on its own jack.

Once both wings are joined to the fuselage, the center jack is withdrawn, and the whole thing is supported only by the six jacks under the two wings.

This center-fuselage-with-wings section then pulses forward along the ground to the next station in final assembly, the jacks again moving the whole thing in unison.

Just before the holiday break, a faded center fuselage — retrieved from an old Japan Airlines 777 in a desert scrapyard — sat atop its jack for tests of this system.

Graffiti were scrawled in large, crudely painted letters across its side: “Not a production part” — as if there were any doubt.

Jason Clark is vice president of Boeing 777 and 777X operations. (Mike Siegel/The Seattle Times)

Clark said his team is ready to bring in a wing and do a check that everything fits during the Christmas production break.

In January, said Clark, “We’re going to actually join the wing to an airplane.”

When that system is perfected, able to handle any size or shape of wing, in about 18 months the old wing-body join fixture will be dismantled and torn out, Clark said.

Beyond the new wing-support jacks in this same bay, where the floor is being dug up, is where Boeing will put an initial 777X final-assembly line for production of the first couple of dozen aircraft.

Clark said this initial low-rate production line will be up and running in about a year. It will be used to get 777X assembly running smoothly, without slowing down production of the current 777.

By 2020, this temporary line will close, and both models will go down the main 777 line, complete with its new wing-to-body join system.

Imitating Airbus

When the temporary line is scrapped, that same bay is earmarked for the most dramatic innovation in the building: the plan to assemble the jet’s carbon-fiber wings.

But because that bay is full until then, Boeing is setting up the composite wing-assembly equipment in another temporary location, taking up 150,000 square feet one more bay over.

These large blue jacks known as “crawlers” are connected to a computer that will carry the 777 wing to the fuselage to be attached. (Mike Siegel/The Seattle Times)

From a balcony there, the four Electroimpact automated wing-assembly stations look eerily similar to the Airbus A350 composite-wing-assembly setup, also designed by Electroimpact.

Just as in Wales, the wing skin panels, spars and ribs are positioned and slid into a drilling and fastening cell where an Electroimpact robotic machine suspended from a gantry moves across the wing, fastening it together.

“The industry is starting to centralize around what’s the best technology,” Clark said, comparing the convergence to what happened earlier in the auto industry.

“You can walk into a BMW plant in Munich or a Ford plant in Detroit, and the production systems are very similar,” said Clark. “A novice couldn’t tell the difference.”

One difference from the Airbus system, he said, is Electroimpact has designed it to be movable. It’s bolted to the floor but will be uprooted in 2020 and moved to the bay where that 1968 dirt is being dug.

Renton revamp

Offering grounds for optimism that this 777 transformation will go well, Boeing has already successfully completed a similarly bold remake of the 737 production system in Renton to prepare for the 737 MAX, which should deliver ahead of schedule next summer.

Yet there’s also the less successful introduction of robotic assembly of the 777 metal fuselage in a building next to the main Everett assembly plant.

Teething problems there have resulted in the robots damaging irreparably at least one fuselage panel, and progress in getting the system up to production rate has been slow.

However, Clark said the team has learned from each glitch and made adjustments.

“We’re not completely out of the woods yet,” he acknowledged.

But he expects that in the first half of 2017, the new system will be rolling out 777 forward- and mid-fuselage sections at full rate, with aft-fuselage sections to follow by year end.

“The 777X gets the benefit of all that learning,” Clark said.

Dominic Gates: 206-464-2963 or

Share RecommendKeepReplyMark as Last Read

From: JakeStraw2/22/2017 12:13:38 PM
   of 3362
Boeing wants to turn satellites into a cheaper, highly-automated business

Share RecommendKeepReplyMark as Last ReadRead Replies (1)

To: JakeStraw who wrote (3275)4/13/2017 1:51:31 PM
From: Eric
   of 3362
Boeing’s 737 MAX 9 ready for first flight Thursday

Taking off right now!

Live video streaming:

Share RecommendKeepReplyMark as Last Read

From: alwaysbmiki4/21/2017 11:10:03 PM
   of 3362
Stock splits never really mean much short term

Share RecommendKeepReplyMark as Last Read

From: JakeStraw7/14/2017 12:10:35 PM
   of 3362
Boeing Company was upgraded by analysts at J P Morgan Chase & Co from a "neutral" rating to an "overweight" rating. They now have a $240.00 price target on the stock.

Share RecommendKeepReplyMark as Last Read

From: Mark Benson7/25/2017 8:25:28 AM
   of 3362
$UTX United Technologies Earnings AlphaGraphic: Q2 2017 Highlights

Share RecommendKeepReplyMark as Last Read

From: Eric9/30/2017 11:40:11 AM
   of 3362
  • Boeing & Aerospace
  • Business
  • Travel

  • Southwest Airlines sends oldest 737s to graveyard as MAX joins flee

    Originally published September 29, 2017 at 6:36 pm Updated September 29, 2017 at 7:51 pm

    The changeover will usher in the latest fresh start for Boeing’s bread-and-butter passenger plane, extending Southwest’s almost 50-year dedication to the 737 model.

    Mary Schlangenstein
    Bloomberg News

    Southwest Airlines is set to pull off an aviation high-wire act this weekend as it sends 30 of its oldest planes to a desert graveyard just 24 hours before launching the newest version of its staple 737 jetliner.

    The changeover will usher in the latest fresh start for Boeing’s bread-and-butter passenger plane, extending Southwest’s almost 50-year dedication to the 737 model. Saying goodbye to the old jets will reduce maintenance and fuel costs and improve on-time performance, while the new, bigger 737 MAX offers more advanced technology and design.

    For the transition to be a success, the airline must execute a carefully choreographed series of flights to move the older planes out of the fleet and bring in nine MAX aircraft without creating delays or disruptions. Planning for the shift — its biggest such move ever — began 16 months ago and requires the coordination of flight crews, dispatchers, network planners, crew schedulers and technical operations teams.

    The last of Southwest’s 737-300s, dubbed Classics, were making their final flights in the airline’s domestic system Friday. By the end of Saturday, they’ll all be parked at an aircraft graveyard in Victorville, California, a desert town northwest of Los Angeles.

    On Sunday, nine MAX jetliners will start service from six different airports, with the first flying the “Texas Triangle” of Dallas-Houston-San Antonio that made up Southwest’s original routes in 1971. Southwest will add five more MAX planes to its fleet before year end, and deploy used 737-700s it acquired to help fill any remaining gaps in its schedule.

    If all goes well, passengers won’t even notice a difference, said Jon Stephens, director of fleet transactions at the Dallas-based carrier. The transition was timed to happen after Labor Day, when travel demand dips.

    Related stories

    Where airplanes go to die (2009)

    Boeing 737, which ‘took the aviation world by storm,’ marks 50 years of flight

    A recap of ‘Boeing: 100 years of flight’ (2016)

    Flying high: an interactive look at Boeing’s 100-year history

    Read more about Boeing & Aerospace

    Share RecommendKeepReplyMark as Last Read

    From: JakeStraw10/5/2017 12:20:53 PM
       of 3362
    Boeing to acquire Aurora Flight Sciences in bet on autonomous flight

    Share RecommendKeepReplyMark as Last Read

    From: Eric10/5/2017 7:36:36 PM
       of 3362
  • Boeing & Aerospace
  • Business

  • Boeing buys maker of drones and advanced robotic systems

    Originally published October 5, 2017 at 8:57 am Updated October 5, 2017 at 1:31 pm

    Centaur is an experimental aircraft developed by Aurora Flight Sciences that can be flown with or without a pilot. Boeing is acquiring Aurora Flight Sciences, a developer of autonomous aerial drones and advanced robotic systems, and headquartered in Manassas, Va. (Aurora Flight Sciences)

    Boeing is acquiring Aurora Flight Sciences of Virginia, a specialist in developing innovative aerial drones and advanced robotic systems.

    Dominic Gates
    Seattle Times aerospace reporter

    Boeing is acquiring Aurora Flight Sciences, a developer of autonomous aerial drones and advanced robotic systems that has worked for the Pentagon as well as for Uber.

    The financial terms were not disclosed.

    Greg Hyslop, chief technology officer and senior vice president of Boeing Engineering, Test & Technology, said the acquisition “will advance the development of autonomy for our commercial and military systems.”

    Aurora will help Boeing stay in the forefront of advanced robotic technologies for future aircraft, unmanned or optionally manned, and other aerospace applications, Hyslop said in a teleconference call.

    “The world is going to be about hybrid-electric airplanes, or all-electric airplanes, and … more autonomy, and how artificial intelligence enables that,” Hyslop said. “We don’t know what that market is going to look like in the future, but as it forms, we want to be there and we want to lead.”

    Aurora founder and chief executive John Langford said joining Boeing will allow his team to take “the cutting edge R&D we’ve been doing over the years in a whole range of areas — autonomy, electric propulsion, very long endurance flight — and apply it with the strength of the world’s leading aerospace company to get it out into the world market.”

    “The marriage of robotics and aeronautics is really at the heart of what Aurora is involved in,” Langford said.

    Headquartered in Manassas, Va., Aurora has more than 550 employees. It has a research-and-development center near MIT in Cambridge, Mass., and manufacturing facilities in Bridgeport, W. Va., and Columbus, Miss.

    One Aurora project, called Centaur, installed an autonomous piloting system on a small Diamond Twin Star plane, turning it into an aircraft that can fly with or without a pilot.

    Orion, developed by Aurora Flight Sciences, set the world endurance record for a remotely controlled drone, staying aloft for more than three days. Boeing is acquiring Aurora, a developer of autonomous aerial drones and advanced robotic systems and headquartered in Manassas, Va. (Aurora Flight Sciences)

    Another project, Orion, set the world endurance record for a remotely controlled drone, staying aloft for more than three days.

    Aurora also works on military projects. For the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) it has developed a vertical takeoff and landing experimental vehicle that uses multiple hybrid-electric-powered ducted fans and can both hover and fly forward at high speed.

    And in April, spinning off that DARPA project, the car ridesharing company Uber selected Aurora as a partner to develop electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft for its proposed pilotless air-taxi network.

    Aurora has flown a quarter-scale prototype of the aircraft it is developing for Uber.

    “It’s not like there are no humans involved,” Langford said, saying that the concept is for the Uber air taxis in any given city to be monitored and controlled from a network center.

    “There’s no pilot on board, but there are still humans supervising the network,” he said.

    At the Paris Air Show in June, Mike Sinnett, the Boeing vice president responsible for innovative future technologies, said that the jetmaker has begun researching the possibility of full-scale commercial-passenger jets that will fly without pilots — using artificial intelligence guiding automated controls to make decisions in flight.

    Asked if acquiring Aurora is another step in that direction, Hyslop on Thursday cautioned that “there are a lot of tough technical problems that have to be worked before we ever get to the point of pilotless airplanes.”

    He said the nearer-term goal is to create a “robotic co-pilot.” The human pilot will become a manager of the increasingly complex automated-control systems as planes become more electrified, he said.

    Langford called it “a matchup of computers doing what computers are best at and humans doing the things humans are best at.”

    “They may not be sitting in traditional seats, operating traditional-looking controls,” he said. “The computers are augmenting what the humans can do.”

    Boeing has collaborated with Aurora on various experimental projects, not only on aircraft but also on automated manufacturing systems.

    Langford revealed on the teleconference call that about three years ago, Aurora — working both with Boeing and with Boeing’s key supplier of automated manufacturing equipment, Mukilteo-based engineering-design firm Electroimpact — built the first all-composite prototype wing spars for the 777X in its Columbus manufacturing facility.

    The success of that robotic-techology project led to the decision to go with a composite wing on that airplane and allowed Boeing to set up the 777X wing plant in Everett.

    Hyslop said Boeing hopes to use Aurora’s production facilities not only for rapid prototyping of experimental vehicles but also for component manufacturing.

    Aurora has also collaborated with other aerospace companies in both research and manufacturing, including rivals to Boeing.

    At its Bridgeport facility, Aurora partnered with Sikorsky, now part of Lockheed Martin, to develop the CH-53K heavy-lift helicopter for the U.S. Marines. It built the engine nacelles and designed and built the main rotor pylon.

    At its Mississippi facility, Aurora builds the carbon composite horizontal tail of the G500 business jet, manufactured by Gulfstream, a Savannah, Ga.-based subsidiary of General Dynamics.

    Hyslop said Boeing intends to continue such supplier relationships and that partnering with competitors is “not uncommon.”

    Boeing also wants to preserve Aurora’s culture of innovation.

    Langford said Aurora will operate as a separate independent subsidiary within Boeing, retaining its name and branding.

    That approach was successful when Boeing acquired another drone company, Insitu based in Bingen, Klickitat County.

    Even while retaining Aurora’s independent spirit, Langford said, he aims to integrate with Boeing through its engineering-research unit to develop cutting-edge technology that will make its way into Boeing products.

    He said “the goal is to push not only innovation but products into the big production centers” at Boeing, including its Puget Sound-area airplane factories.

    Dominic Gates: 206-464-2963 or

    Share RecommendKeepReplyMark as Last Read
    Previous 10 Next 10 

    Copyright © 1995-2018 Knight Sac Media. All rights reserved.Stock quotes are delayed at least 15 minutes - See Terms of Use.