Air Canada posted photos of its first 787, that is due to be delivered later this spring, in assembly in building 40-24. In my last post, I talked about Boeing revised assembly process which now integrates an additional line position for a total of 5. The first position of the assembly process now appears to be a dedicated to assembly of large sub-assemblies.
Specifically the fully assembled wings (with all movable surfaces) is integrated to the main fuselage section in the 1st position. Next to this large sub-assembly is the rear fuselage (sections 47/48) is integrated with the vertical and horizontal stabilizers. The forward fuselage (section 41) is positioned ahead next to the 2nd line position. It is at this second line position where all three fuselage sections will be joined together. Once the second position is cleared the forward fuselage in transferred into the line position, then the main fuselage with the wings attached is moved forward right behind the section 41. The rear fuselage assembly is then shifted to the left and then moved forward to a place behind the main fuselage assembly. The three sections are then joined and all appropriate connections are made before the aircraft is moved to the third line position where it would receive its gear and engines.
The new process is part of Boeing's efforts to reduce the build time for each 787 as well as reduce production costs. It has been reported that Boeing is still assembling 787s at a cost greater than the sales price thus the drive to find efficiencies through efforts like revising the production process as well as programs like "Partnering For Success" will be key to reducing those production costs.
You can see the Air Canada production photos on Facebook by clicking here.