Industrial and manufacturing
processes and facilities
National finalist:
Gold Award

Wood Harbinger

Project: 767 production line relocation
Client: Boeing Co.

Photo courtesy of Wood Harbinger
For Boeing’s new 767 production line, Wood Harbiner designed tall, skinny mechanical ducts that could be tucked high into the structure, keeping them away from moving cranes.

When Boeing began thinking of creating a new 767 production line, plans were to build a completely new building for it. Instead, space in an existing facility was repurposed, saving considerable design and construction costs and keeping tons of construction materials out of the building stream.

Wood Harbinger was the prime consultant for the design and construction of the new production line.

The new facility had never been used for aircraft production and needed architectural renovations for a new hangar door on its north side, along with significant infrastructure additions. Wood Harbinger designed an in-slab vault and trench system, new industrial ventilation systems, a large network of test equipment and new electrical, pneumatic and hydraulic utilities. Infrastructure was also created for a new jacking system that streamlines aircraft production.

One of the major technical challenges was the installation of a hydraulic power unit and 400-hertz generator in an extremely vibration-sensitive specialty machine shop where even footsteps could create enough vibration to interrupt operations. Wood Harbinger designed a complex vibration and sound-isolation system that allowed operations to continue and the equipment to function.

Another challenge involved rerouting of mechanical ductwork. At Boeing, assembly space is precious, especially up high where the space is populated by more than 40 miles of crane rail. So designers had to create tall, skinny ducts tucked up into the structure to keep them away from the constantly moving cranes.

A new time-saving system was instituted for performing tests on the aircraft once it was assembled. In the past, the exhaustive battery of tests was performed using portable equipment that had to be moved constantly from one area of the assembly floor to another. Wood Harbiner created a system of pop-up hatches in permanent locations where the testing equipment and cabling remains protected until it is needed, allowing a smaller space for the assembly process.

Boeing met its goal of seamlessly relocating the 767 production line without any delay or schedule extensions. The company was able to start making airplanes on the new production line the same day the old production line was taken out of service.

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