We've said that robots will outnumber humans, but Boeing's engineers aren't convinced. After years of struggle with the robotic system that engulfed the assembly of his Finnish 777X aircraft, they returned to human labor.
The largest aerospace corporation in America has finally dumped the robots used to assemble the two main body parts of long-haul Boeing 777s and 777s, according to Bloomberg.
Unusually called FAUB, or Fuselage Automated Uptight Build, the system was introduced with great fanfare four years ago, touted as an example of Boeing's innovative spirit. It features unison-operated robots to precisely drill holes and fit the outer frame of the aircraft wide.
But the top-level robots – made by a company based in Germany – lack the known German accuracy and quality. They could not synchronize drilling holes and insert fasteners, which contributed to snowballs of activities that people had to complete.
As early as 2016, the Seattle Times reported that the problems were staggering in Boeing's last assembly line. "FAUB is a terrible failure," a Boeing employee admitted at the time. "They are forcing these unfinished, damaged planes on us."
Another veteran mechanic said every section leaves the HAUB with hundreds of incomplete jobs. "It's a nightmare," he said.
Now, Boeing will again rely on skilled workers to manually attach fasteners to holes drilled by a system known as "Flex paths". Although still automated, it is not as large and autonomous as the wrong HUB.
The top managers of the aircraft manufacturer admit that FAUB was a complete failure. “It was difficult. It took me years of my life, " Jason Clark, Boeing's vice president of production for the 777X, said.
The Long Range 777X was originally supposed to make its first test flight this summer, but it was delayed until 2020 due to problems with its general electric motor. It is unclear whether the latest discovery will cause further delays.
Marked as the most efficient successor to the best-selling model 777, the 777X provides seating for 365 passengers and has a range of over 16,000 km.
READ MORE: Scandal-induced Boeing suspends test on 777x debt per "issue" during recent load checks
Boeing smaller aircraft, such as the 737NG and 737MAX, are plagued by scandals. Earlier this year, the MAX model was grounded globally following two collisions that killed 346 people in Indonesia and Ethiopia. Investigations have found that malfunctioning software and sensors have made pilots unable to control aircraft.
The reputation of older aircraft in the NG series is also not without a stain. Earlier, an emergency world inspection found that dozens of planes had cracks in the structure connecting the wings of the plane to its hull.
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