One to zero for humans. After four years of trying, Boeing has given up one of its most ambitious forays into automation: robots that build two main sections of the 777 jet fuselage and an updated version called the 777X.
The Chicago-based aircraft maker will now have qualified mechanics to manually insert the fasteners into the drilled holes along the circumference of the plane, using a system known as the "flexible automation tool" perfected over years of use in the 787 Dreamliner. .
The move to the new human-plus-machine system began during the second quarter and is expected to be completed by the end of the year, Boeing spokesman Paul Bergman said in a statement. Boeing plans no change in total staff for its 777 jets, manufactured in Everett, Washington, about an hour north of Seattle.
"The flexible tool solution has proven to be more reliable, requiring less manual work and less bent work than robot capacity," he said.
As tempting as automation is – with the promise of a mechanized workforce that never gets sick, tired, or hungry – manufacturers identify many cases where technology can't match the dexterity, creativity, and precision of hands. Human eyes
Like the famous Tesla case, which tried to build a fully automated car plant in Fremont, California, but had to install a tent outside to speed up production with manual labor.
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