The Mandrel Guys

Members Project Details Process Flow Design Approach Lean Manufacturing

Problem Statement:  Design a system to increase the efficiency and safety of duct production at Boeing, Spokane by decreasing mandrel handling time and replacing overhead cranes.

Project Background:  The Boeing company maintains a facility in Spokane, Washington, which manufactures ducting for commercial airplanes.  The duct production process consists of wrapping composite fibers around molds on a lathe called a "taper".  These molds are large metal cylinders (14 feet long, 14 inch diameter, 1000 lb) called mandrels.  The prepared mandrel is then cured in an oven at 300F for 3 hours.  After curing, the duct and mandrel are left to cool before the duct is pulled off the mandrel and taken to another area of the plant for further work.

To transport the mandrels around the plant, the current system employs slow overhead cranes and awkward hand-pushed carts.

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Last updated: December 17, 2001.