Inside a sealed building in Boeing’s Everett widebody-jet assembly plant, two robotic machines glide along tracks on either side of a 106-foot 777 wing laid flat, their heads reaching out like animatronic dinosaurs nibbling at the giant wing.
These new robot-painting machines can wash, apply solvent to remove dirt, rinse and then spray two different paint types. They reach,even into complex spaces inside the open wing root that must be painted for corrosion protection.
Manually, it takes a team of painters 4.5 hours to do the first coat. The robots do it in 24 minutes with perfect quality. Boeing began using the machine in February. By midsummer, all 777 wings will be painted this way.