A major technological upgrade is being undertaken by Spirit AeroSystems, a major player in the production of Boeing 737 fuselages, to address recent manufacturing challenges.
Spirit’s CEO declared a strategic shift towards autonomous technology to reduce manufacturing defects in fuselages after a string of setbacks, including an incident involving a 737 MAX 9, reported by Reuters.
Spirit AeroSystems and Boeing are under intense scrutiny from lawmakers, regulators, and investors, and that’s why they made this move. The incident involving a door plug that came loose from a MAX 9 aircraft while it was in flight has increased the level of scrutiny.
Spirit seeks to strike a careful balance between automation and human-assisted technology because it is responsible for the entire 737 fuselage. The company’s short-term goals will centre on integrating human-assisted technology to decrease manual labour and increase inspections.
But to improve productivity and product safety, Spirit sees a future with increased automation and equipment that requires human assistance. Remarkably, the business is putting human factors into its short-term plan as well, demonstrating that safety is its top priority.
In the meantime, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has strengthened its regulatory oversight and is firmly committed to maintaining quality control. FAA Administrator Mike Whitaker stressed that until quality control issues are satisfactorily resolved, no approval for additional production lines or production expansion for the 737 MAX would be given.
Spirit AeroSystems is increasing its focus on technological advancement, specifically in robotics, to address these challenges and reduce fuselage issues while improving overall production quality. This change in strategy demonstrates the company’s resolve to confront manufacturing problems head-on and win back industry trust.