Open the door

Our production rate increases will be a key part to our success over the next few years. That’s why I’m always fascinated with the creative ways our employees manage to do their jobs better and faster. That’s not always easy—especially when you’re dealing with something that weighs nearly one ton.


The 777 Freighter on the production line in Everett. Gail Hanusa photo.

The 777 Freighter’s main deck cargo door is the largest and the heaviest cargo door that Boeing installs. Back in 2009 when the first 777 Freighter was built, it took about 20 days to rig the cargo door. Now, it takes only 16 hours.


From left to right, 777 door riggers Kiem Tran, Craig Morgan and Angelette Gambrell open the 777 Freighter’s main deck cargo door. Gail Hanusa photo.

Employees came up with a so called “smart pin” designed and patented by Boeing Tool Design. The smart pin allows mechanics to more easily rig the door, in less time and with improved quality. The team also came up with a new method that allows them to stop the moving line, stabilize the airplane, rig the door, get the necessary approvals to move forward, and return later in the process to tighten and seal the fasteners.

With a 20 percent rate increase for the 777— from seven airplanes per month to 8.3 — beginning this fall, this is just another incredible example of employee ingenuity paying off for our customers as we open the door to better ways of doing things.

Comments (3)

Ted (Redding, PA):

Long live the 777! The best Boeing has ever built in my opinion. The future looks very bright for it.

vaidya sethuraman (Chicago):

This piece tells us that it is not only about products i.e planes . It is more about how you make it -the moving line, short change times (rig times in this case ), reducing floor space , avoiding handling /waste , empowred workers with local knowledge -all leading to higher productivity , lower cycle time for making the planes . Boeing is doing well here and that could be its secret weapon , apart from excellent product planning and production ; we hope the supply chains also will reach the same levels of execution.
congratulations .

Norman (Long Beach, CA):

The quick rigging time of the cargo door is very good. it will make it easier to convert passenger 777s to cargo 777s. The triple-seven is one of the most versatile aircraft ever produced and has a strong aftermarket potential after life as a passenger airliner in the case of the older 777-200s.

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