At one of Boeing's original facilities in Renton, Wash., CNET tours the company's 737 production line.
Home of the 737
Renton, Wash.--At the south end of Lake Washington, just outside of Seattle, Boeing builds its 737 aircraft, the smallest airliner in its commercial airplane family. At present, the factory produces 31.5 737-800 and 737-900 airliners per month. By the first half of 2014, Boeing says it will increase production to 42 airplanes per month.
The Renton facility is one of Boeing's original factories in the Puget Sound Region. After beginning operations in 1941, Boeing built B-29 aircraft here during World War II. After the war, the company used the plant to build its first passenger jetliner, the 707, and later the 727, 737, and 757. Final 737 assembly now takes place in a 75,000-square-foot building that employs 9,000 people.
Here's a view down the final production line inside the plant. In the foreground is a 737 built for Turkish Air, while beyond are aircraft for Air Berlin and Southwest Airlines. The aircraft at the far end of the line is still waiting for its vertical stabilizer.
Final assembly takes place in five stages. At the first position, the wings, vertical stabilizer, and horizontal stabilizer are joined with the fuselage. Next, workers install floor boards and rear galleys inside the cabin.
In the third station, the middle and forward galleys go in and workers run functional tests on pressurization; flight control and hydraulic systems; and landing gear. At the fourth stage, the cabin is outfitted with wall and ceiling panels, overhead bins, and lavatories before the final position, where carpets and seats are installed.