747 Upper Deck Alignment System
  • Problem:

The Boeing Company needed a faster, more precise, and less labor intensive method of aligning the vertical frame members of the 747 upper deck as it was being assembled.

A manual “piano-wire” system had been in use, with alignment distances measured manually. The system was adequately precise but was inefficient and cumbersome due to the setup and teardown time and the tedious number of measurements and adjustments required.

  • Task:

To provide a system which would substantially reduce setup time, increase precision, and significantly reduce production line and labor hours for this 747 sub-assembly operation.

  • Solution:

A small, lightweight, portable line laser was fabricated by Research Technologies Engineers. Passive laser targets were mounted to the customer's existing tooling holes on each vertical frame member. The laser provided a precise visual line of sight which allowed the airframes to be aligned precisely and quickly.

Advantages of this system included:

REDUCED LABOR COST - The alignment process required only one-third the man hours of the old method.

SIMPLIFIED PROCESS - Adjustments were made quickly and simply by adjusting the frame members relative to the beam of one laser, rather than manually measuring and adjusting each frame numerous times.

SAVE SETUP TIME - The non-contact laser system virtually eliminated the long setup time of the previous contact system.