The Boeing Co. [BA] is about to use a new method of assembling satellites that will shorten construction time.
That so-called "pulse line" method, at a facility in El Segundo, Calif., will start with Air Force birds.
The first satellites to be manufactured on the pulse line will be the Global Positioning System (GPS) IIF satellites. All Boeing satellite production lines will adopt the new process over time.
"With this new process, we are reducing the [assembly process] travel distance of a space vehicle from 12,000 feet to 10,000 feet," said John Duddy, director of GPS programs for Boeing.
The new process will move parts through 13 pulse positions. New work cells, new tooling, standard work-planning packages and lean manufacturing processes will reduce the total build time per satellite and increase the number of vehicles moving through the line at one time. The line is intended to eliminate rework, allowing parts to flow continuously and smoothly through the process.
Craig Cooning, vice president and general manager of Boeing Space and Intelligence Systems, said the new system will cut costs.