• Problem:

The Boeing Company was designing a new 767 freighter aircraft. They needed a higher precision system of measurement for assembly than previously used because of the critical tolerances required for cargo bins and integrated floor tracks.

Following the success of Research Technologies implementation of laser alignment technology on the new generation 777, the Boeing Company selected this system for the 767 freighter.

While the 777 project utilized laser alignment using robotic controls in a closed loop feedback on all new tooling, the 767 system would use the laser alignment components in a retrofit of existing tooling using manual control.

This would be the first time that a new technology was successfully applied to an existing production line for the Boeing Company.

  • Task:

To design, develop, and produce an measurement system which would:

- Increase the measurement precision of the alignment process.

- Significantly reduce production line and labor hours for downstream assembly operations.

- Design the system to retrofit to existing tooling, at low refit cost, in a short timeframe.

- Substantially reduce the time taken to measure aircraft join tolerances.

  • Solution:

Research Technologies, in concert with other team members who provided the computer control console, implemented a laser alignment system using it?s computer controlled Model 1000 Rotating Laser and Model 9010 Laser Target.

Advantages of this system include:

IMPROVED QUALITY, MANUFACTURING CONTROL AND SAFETY TO PARTS due to higher precision in parts alignment, as built feedback to up stream and down stream assembly processes and automatic monitoring for thresholds, alerts, and diagnostics, reducing the potential for damage to assemblies.

COST SAVINGS are realized by reducing the man hours and time the assembly spent on the alignment fixture, reducing labor costs and overhead.

A MORE COMPETITIVE PRODUCT is achieved by improving alignment accuracy and aerodynamics, resulting in improved fuel mileage and reduced operating costs.

PRODUCTION EFFICIENCY is increased by reducing alignment time from hours to minutes. An RT 1000 Laser can scan and take measurements from many targets simultaneously, versus an optical level, which can survey only one point at a time.

This project demonstrated that the RT Laser Alignment System could be easily adapted to manually controlled existing tooling and yet provide the same benefits of accuracy, efficiency, and statistical data as were realized on the fully automated 777 Tool.