We’ve started fabricating parts for the first 737 MAX. Work has begun at Boeing and supplier facilities to support production of the first flight test airplane in 2015. This is a big milestone for the team as the first airplane literally starts to take shape.
Below you can see the forming of the first fuselage stringer in our Auburn, Wash. fabrication facility.
The first stringer for the 737 MAX is produced with a Progressive Roll forming machine at Integrated Aero Structures, Auburn, Wash. Oil is used as a lubricant while the part is transformed from flat to formed in a matter of seconds.
Progressive roll form operator Mark Kain cuts the first 737 MAX fuselage stringer to length.
After the stringer is formed, trimmed and initial holes punched, Joggle Press operator Rich Harrison prepares the first stringer for the press by brushing on lubricant. The press applies up to 100 tons of pressure to form small “jogs” in the metal according to the engineering drawings.
After forming, the stringers will be shipped to Spirit Aerosystems in Wichita for incorporation into the first 737 MAX fuselage. From there the fuselage will be shipped to our factory in Renton to be built into the first 737 MAX.
The stringers are largely common with the Next-Generation 737 stringers built at the same facility in Auburn. This commonality will ensure our customers get the maximum benefit, while leveraging the design advantage of the Next-Generation 737s.
This commonality benefits the production process as well, helping us ensure the 737 MAX will fit seamlessly into the Renton production system. Below you can see that that we’ve already started the tear down of existing structures in the Renton factory to make room for what we are now calling the Central Line. The first 737 MAXs will be built on this new final assembly line before we mix production of the new airplane in with Next-Generation 737s.
The construction crew has almost finished demolishing the fuselage systems installation tool that once stood within the blue fencing. This space will be the first position in the new production line we are building in Renton to build the first 737 MAXs and help sustain higher production rates.
The 737 MAX 8.
The team is doing a great job of keeping everything on track as we look forward to the start of final assembly next year. Enjoy the video below that takes you inside our Auburn facility to see the stringer production process.