November 14, 2006 The moving production line concept was around for more than a century before Henry Ford famously used it to speed output and cut costs and hence transform the automotive industry a century ago. So do we now know all there is to know about manufacturing efficiency? Not by a long shot! The Boeing Company has just started using a moving assembly line for the first time to build its market-leading 777 jetliner. Earlier this year, Boeing began work to transform its 777 assembly line into a leaner and more efficient production system. This initial use of a moving line during final assembly represents substantial progress with that transformation effort. Assembled one-by-one, it takes 26 days to assemble the 777’s three million constituent parts, but with a moving production line, the aim is to cut that time to just eight days. For now, the moving assembly line is used only during final assembly positions for the airplane, moving it at a steady pace of 1.6 inches per minute during production.
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