Spirit AeroSystems [NYSE: SPR] has completed its first integrated 767 forward fuselage section for Boeing, an expanded statement of work on the Boeing platform, which serves as both a freighter and the basis for the KC-46 tanker for the U.S. Air Force. The unit is scheduled to be delivered tomorrow to Boeing in Everett, Wash.
Spirit previously designed and built four separate forward fuselage end items for the 767 -- the cab, lower lobe and two side panels. These were shipped by rail to Boeing for integration. With this new statement of work, Spirit will integrate the four sections into a single unit before shipping to Boeing.
"By winning this new work from our customer, we are showing that our workforce, our technology and our skills are ready to move into the future," said Spirit AeroSystems Vice President of Boeing Twin Aisle Programs Kristin Robert.
The 767 integration work began in October of this year in the newly-opened advanced manufacturing facility on the company's Wichita, Kan., campus. The building showcases Spirit's innovative use of new technologies on production lines to improve quality and efficiency.
"With this new greenfield facility, we had the opportunity to integrate existing build process with new technology and completely rethink how we interact with the airplane throughout our assembly process," said Spirit AeroSystems 747/767 Program Manager Kami Power. "This really demonstrates what we believe the next phase of manufacturing – the factory of the future -- will look like. The benefits in this new advanced manufacturing facility will enable Spirit to increase our competitiveness through improved cost and quality and help us win future business."
The new facility, which broke ground in October 2018, will include advances such as automated production that reduce assembly time and increase quality, and material tracking and management from raw materials across the entire supply chain. These advances, integrated into an optimized system, will help to reduce assembly time and increase quality performance.
This new work statement doubles Spirit's labor content on the fuselage and required additional square footage at the Wichita site. The assembled unit is too large to ship via rail or truck, so the structure will be transported via the Dreamlifter, a modified Boeing 747, from Wichita to Everett, just as the 787 integrated barrel is today.