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Boeing Rolls Out First 787 Vertical Fin

25 March 2007

Boeing has rolled out the first vertical fin for the 787 Dreamliner, the largest primary structure of the 787 airframe built by an internal Boeing supplier.

Manufactured and assembled at the Composite Manufacturing Center (CMC) in Frederickson, the delivery meets a key program milestone as the airplane begins final assembly in Everett, Wash., in preparation for its initial roll out in July.

CMC's milestone achievement for the 787 Dreamliner continues its 15-year track record in the application of structural composite materials and manufacturing process technologies used to produce the empennage for the Boeing 777.

To create additional production capacity to build the 787 vertical fin, the Boeing factory implemented significant Lean improvements, including a pulse moving line featuring right-sized tooling, determinant assembly and advanced technology drilling techniques. Lean manufacturing techniques are used to enhance the quality and efficiency of its production system.

CMC's Lean manufacturing journey, which began in 1996, enabled the business unit to compete and win the role as a tier-one supplier to the 787 Program. Applying Lean also enabled CMC to produce the composite 787 vertical fin without adding brick and mortar to its original factory built to produce the empennage for the Boeing 777.

In addition to designing the new Lean flow, Boeing CMC employees designed the entire structure of the vertical fin, including composite and metal subcomponents. The unit is also responsible for fabrication of the vertical fin's main box, or centre section; working together on supplier selection and co-management; major assembly, including integration of supplier-provided structures, hydraulics, electronic actuators, signal lights and wires; functional test; and post-delivery support.