The Boeing 777 is the first jetliner to be 100 percent digitally
designed using three-dimensional solids technology. Throughout the
design process, the airplane was "preassembled" on the
computer, eliminating the need for a costly, full-scale mock-up.
Workstations and Mainframes
In the Puget Sound area, approximately 1,700 individual computer
workstations are linked to the largest mainframe installation of its
kind in the world, consisting of four IBM mainframe computers. This
mainframe cluster also is linked to mainframes and workstation
installations in Japan; Philadelphia; Wichita, Kansas; and other
The 777 Division is using CATIA (Computer-Aided Three-Dimensional
Interactive Application) and ELFINI (Finite Element Analysis System),
both developed by Dassault Systemes of France and licensed in the United
States through IBM. Designers also use EPIC (Electronic Preassembly
Integration on CATIA) and other digital preassembly applications
developed by Boeing.
The use of these systems improves the quality of work; reduces changes,
errors and rework; and results in lower costs.
At the peak of the design effort, there were 238 teams using computing
technology to design the 777. Design engineers and manufacturing
engineers worked concurrently on the design of parts to decrease later
change orders and to increase efficiency in building and installing
those parts. Outside suppliers and airline customers also are
represented on some teams.
Using the three-dimensional solid images generated on the computer, the
777 airplane can be preassembled to position parts correctly, ensuring a