Frederickson, USA: The Boeing Company has celebrated the roll out of the first vertical fin for the company's all-new commercial airplane, the 787 Dreamliner. The roll out comes even as Airbus chief operating officer John Leahy cast some open doubts about the ability of the company to meet its projected production schedule for the airliner this week.
Manufactured and assembled at Boeing's Composite Manufacturing Center (CMC) in Frederickson, the vertical fin is the largest primary structure of the 787's airframe. The delivery also meets a key programme milestone as the airplane begins final assembly in Everett, in preparation for its initial roll out in July.
CMC's milestone achievement for the 787 Dreamliner continues its proven 15-year track record in the application of structural composite materials and manufacturing process technologies used to produce the empennage for the Boeing 777.
CMC's lean manufacturing journey, which began in 1996, enabled the business unit to compete and win the role as a tier-one supplier to the 787 programme. Applying lean manufacturing methods also enabled CMC to produce the composite 787 vertical fin without adding brick and mortar to its original factory built to produce the empennage for the Boeing 777.
In addition to designing the new lean manufacturing flow, Boeing's CMC employees designed the entire structure of the vertical fin, including composite and metal subcomponents. The unit is also responsible for fabrication of the vertical fin's main box, or center section; working together on supplier selection and co-management; major assembly, including integration of supplier-provided structures, hydraulics, electronic actuators, signal lights and wires; functional test; and post-delivery support.
The vertical fin assembly is an elliptical airfoil that comprises leading edge, centre box, trailing edge and rudder, which function together as flight control surfaces that maintain yaw, or side-to-side horizontal movement of an airplane in flight.