During a visit to the Ford factory, which I was very impressed with, I wondered about how everything is arranged in the aircraft industry!
I started to search for information and find out that the Boeing Everett Factory, in Everett, Washington, USA is the biggest warehouse in the world.
Checking in at an amazing 4.3 million square feet, it is both the largest warehouse and the largest building in the world. To put it in perspective, you could fit 80 football pitches into it and still have some room left over. Originally constructed to build the Boeing 747, it now houses assembly for 767s, 777s and the massive 787 Dreamliner.
At a kilometre long and 500m wide, the building is the largest in the world by volume. The 28,000 plus employees are encouraged to make use of the 450 tricycles to get around, and stop off at six diners and coffee shops to fuel their journey.
Divided into various sections dedicated to different aircraft types, the factory operates 24/7 and uses no central heating or air conditioning.
Instead, Boeing relies on the one million light fittings to provide heat in Seattle’s chilly winter, and simply opens the giant sized doors in summer to let in more air.
Parts are sourced from all over the world including Australia, Italy, Korea and Japan and put together with painstaking precision.
There is some automation — in the form of driverless vehicles that deliver tool kits to the engineers and mechanics — but mostly the factory relies on hands on expertise to complete the high tech machines to Boeing’s specifications and those of the airline customer.
Every few days a shiny new aircraft is completed and shunted out for testing by Boeing’s own pilots before being handed over to their new owners.
Although staff are not allowed access to Wi-Fi and there are strict controls on mobile phones, the factory operates public tours — which bring in 300,000 people a year. Restricted to the upper deck of the cavernous space, public visitors must also surrender their phones — such is the concern about the theft of Boeing’s secrets!!
Watch this video, it´s amazing: