Boeing and the Modern Airplane Assembly Line
During the heyday of major airlines in the late 20th century, companies like Boeing again changed the dynamics of aircraft production. Focusing less on volume and more on the size of the actual vehicles, most modern companies established huge facilities to house the advanced assembly line procedures. Opened in 1967, the largest of these is the Boeing facility in Everett, Washington, north of Seattle. As of 2010, this location is the producer of 747, 767, 777 and 787 commercial aircraft.
According to the Guinness Book of World Records, this factory is the largest building in the world and covers 472 million cubic feet. It has the ability to house thirty-one completed jetliners. The Everett plant requires its own security department, fire control force, medical clinic, electric power plant and water-treatment facility. It also contains many wetlands and holding ponds to control water run-off.
In terms of the history of the airplane assembly line, the industry has grown from the simple production of an individual plane to the manufacture of dozens of major commercial airliners capable of carrying thousands of people. While the growth was primarily achieved through the necessity of war, economic development and the technological innovation have also played a major role leading to aircraft like the Airbus and Boeing Dreamliner.