Boeing Sidewall Lighting Installation

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The sidewall lighting installation for the Boeing 737 is a long and exhaustive process for the production line operators. The objective of our team is to find solutions to make this process faster and more ergonomic.

Sidewall Lighting Installation
Lead Instructor Dr. Beyerlein
Mentor Sarah Willis
Sponsor Boeing
Team Name UI BLT
Team Members Mariana Burdelis, Alexandra Edwards and Michael Ortman
Duration Fall 2017 - Spring 2018

Project Overview[edit]

Problem Statement[edit]

The UI team will collaborate with 737 Interior Lighting group to develop technical solutions and new concepts for the 737 Interior Sidewall Light installation. A primary objective of this project is to demonstrate methods to reduce touch time required for the assembly and installation of the sidewall lights into air conditioning aluminum extrusions. Focus areas include light assembly packing, electrical connector hardware selection and placement, and improved installation scenarios that reduce human factors stress.

Creating the Boeing 737

Design Goals[edit]

Our team goals are:

  • To design, or find within the industry, new components to implement within the installation process that will reduce the assembly and installation time.
  • To accommodate the process ergonomically in order to reduce human factor stress and injuries.
  • To reduce process assembly errors and the number of parts discarded due to damage during incorrect installation.

Project Deliverables[edit]

At the end of our term, our team plans on delivering:

  • New parts chart, with suggestions for part substitutions accompanied by the time reduction calculated by the team.
  • Work instructions with ergonomic solutions and supporting documentation.
  • Mock-up model of the fuselage panel and solid model of alternative assembly packing for better installation and ergonomics.

Project Specifications[edit]

The team must avoid making changed to the AC rail assembly and any proposed solution should be a drop-in replacement.

Simulated Assembly Process[edit]

In order to reduce the installation time and test proposed solutions the team must have a base measured quantity. The current installation process will be timed by the team at its own pace and then compared to the time the team takes to assemble the new proposed models. The team will measure the time it takes to assemble two adjacent sidewall light fixtures. The target is to complete the installation in five minutes (current time is seven and a half minutes).

Foolproof Electrical Connectors[edit]

The currently used connectors have asymmetrical design and different external styles. The proposed solution must eliminate the possibility of connector misalignment in order to reduce the quantity of connectors broken during installation. New connectors suggested by the group must:

  • Support quick lean installation of 737 sidewall lights into 737 AC rail.
  • Be test per MIL-STD-1344, method 1004.1, using pressure cycling to 50,000 ft level.
  • Have “Pin Through” RS485 shield.
  • Meet FAR 25.17xx Electrical Wiring Interconnection Systems (EWIS) requirements.
  • Meet FAA requirements.

Foolproof Retainer Clip[edit]

The current retainer clip used to connect the sidewall lighting protection lenses is difficult to install, as it is not stable enough for use with the power machine. This causes the need of frequent rework and a number of broken parts. The specification target it to reduce the mean rework rate to one percent.

Project Development[edit]

The team's research is divided into studying connector solutions and creating a mock-up model of the AC rail for installation time measurement.

Current Connectors Used By Boeing[edit]

Data Connector Power Connector Power and Data Connector
Data power.jpg

Mock-up Model[edit]

Frontal View Side View
Boeing panel01.jpg
Boeing panel02.jpg

In order to conduct our connector time studies, our group has built a mock-up replica of the Boeing 737 sidewall with AC rail. The mock-up was built such that the LED board installation section is roughly the same height and orientation as the original configuration. The sidewall panel was provided by Boeing and the wooden frame and test section were fabricated at the University of Idaho via laser cutting.

New Generation of Connectors - Ethernet Style[edit]

Power and Data Male Connector Power and Data Female Connector
Nine Pin Male.PNG
Nine Pin Female.PNG
Power Male Connector Power Female Connector
Four Pin Male.PNG
Four Pin Female.PNG
Data Male Connector Data Female Connector
Five Pin Male.PNG
Five Pin Female.PNG

This new generation of connectors was modeled based on ethernet style connectors. The pin configuration for the Data and Power connector (9 pin) was kept the same as the original connector. The other two models (Data 4 pin and Power 5 pin) have a new pin configurations. The orientation for this new connector model is obvious and should reduce defects from improper installation.

Time Studies[edit]

Original Connectors[edit]

9Pin ts.jpg 45Pin ts.jpg Ziptie ts.jpg

Team Information[edit]

Team pic01.jpg

From left to right: Alexandra Edwards, Mariana Burdelis and Michael Ortman.

Member Biography Discipline
Alexandra Edwards I'm a senior in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Idaho. I love math, science, and designing so engineering was the perfect fit. In my spare time I enjoy various types of arts and crafts along with playing in a dart league. Mechanical Engineering
Mariana Burdelis I'm a senior Computer Engineering at the University of Idaho. I chose engineering because I love to improve and create new things. When I'm not studying I like to make jewelry, play with my pets or play video games with my husband. Computer Engineering
Michael Ortman I'm a senior in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Idaho. I chose engineering because it incorporates math and science into design. I enjoy long boarding in the summer, snowboarding in the winter and I like to draw all year round. Mechanical Engineering