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FAA Grounds 787s

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FAA Grounds 787s

Old 3rd Feb 2013, 14:43
  #581 (permalink)  
 
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Boeing, et al, are way ahead of everyone here. Their problem, et al, is concocting a digestible explanation for the sheep....I believe they have one in mind, if not completed, waiting for disclosure.

"It is inconceivable Boeing was unaware....."

I predict I will not believe it....(the published "conclusion"). Check that, there will be no lies, but the important bits will not be included....

Last edited by Lyman; 3rd Feb 2013 at 15:48.
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Old 3rd Feb 2013, 15:59
  #582 (permalink)  
 
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I saw this article in the Harvard Business Review that goes into some of the business / corporate reasons why Boeing and the 787 find themselves where they are. One can see how the design strategy used by Boeing on the 787 could result in parts the "didn't all fit together". One can also see how Boeing might have known about the issues with the battery but decided to take a mitigate now, fix later approach. I guess the only fly in that ointment is that they couldn't mitigate fast enough.

The 787's Problems Run Deeper Than Outsourcing - James Allworth - Harvard Business Review
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Old 3rd Feb 2013, 16:23
  #583 (permalink)  
 
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There is no editing here. Good, and Bad....

That might mean you are deluged with too much Lyman and not enough
Machaca.

But I am increasingly agitated about the appearance of generic media here, as if some new thing will be known in its reading.

Baloney.

This article could have been a simple rewrite of any of several pages to be found here, on PPRuNe.

Example (from no less than Harvard ) And NOT FOUND ON PPRuNe until now:

"Similarly, being integrated means you don't have to understand what all the interdependencies are going to be between the components in a product that you haven't created yet (which, obviously, is pretty hard to do). And, as a result of that, you don't need to ask suppliers to contract over interconnects that haven't been created yet, either".

UTTER and complete nonsense.....dangerous nonsense And part of the problem that has been discussed here at length.

It is exactly the opposite of good design.

Did someone pay Harvard to publish that propaganda? Because it is a perfect fit with other nonsense that prepares for a total misunderstanding of the problems by the public.

And exonerates Boeing, ultimately, from responsibility to what should be its core Mission: GOOD DESIGN....

Last edited by Lyman; 3rd Feb 2013 at 16:36.
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Old 3rd Feb 2013, 17:14
  #584 (permalink)  
 
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HBR

Lyman,

Remember, it's Harvard Business Review, not Engineering Review. This probably makes perfect sense to the MBAs. I share your frustration that articles like these contribute to misunderstandings by the public (and perpetuate bad corporate practices).
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Old 3rd Feb 2013, 17:26
  #585 (permalink)  
 
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Difficult crisis management

Hi,

742:

Boeing moved their headquarters to Chicago to "...get the engineers out of the Board Room.


The best feedback to the "high rocks" is the one received "in house". The cost of "feedback" after product is being mass produced is enormous. Specially considering the importance of this Dream craft to Boeing and to the industry in a difficult US an world Economy time.
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Old 3rd Feb 2013, 18:20
  #586 (permalink)  
 
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Those who've worked in aerospace manufacturing over the past few decades will realize the truths in the HBR article.

When management perceives their company to be operating in a high-cost arena (very much including all those expensive senior engineers) it's very comforting to imagine the problem can be solved by outsourcing the whole package to a world-class supplier in a lower-cost environment.

The HBR reference to module outsourcing doesn't go far enough. A corollary to the yet-evolving-interfaces problem is that an interface spec robust enough to be "thrown over the wall" to a supplier must be grindingly detailed - which are metaphorically full of devils, of course. Those specs are often written by mid-level engineers (or recent grads) willing to undertake that grind, and once issued, making corrections to them for whatever reason involves project and contracts people who'd rather you didn't.

Perhaps with that in mind many of the major players have formalized their engineering processes with a set of SOPs that when followed will produce a perfect result every time. They include a set of metrics that measure compliance with those SOPs. Thus when an external auditor agrees that the company's processes are being followed everyone can relax, assured that the airplane will come with a safe and happy electrical-system module.

Surprise.
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Old 3rd Feb 2013, 18:22
  #587 (permalink)  

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Lyman

I dont like making comments that risk being seen as getting at somebody, but in this case I feel you have completely misunderstood the Harvard article you quote. My reading of the article is that it suggests it is very dangerous to outsource the design, development and manufacture of elements of a complex system before the interactions between the various elements are completely understood. Indeed it queries whether you cannot even write a decent outsourcing contract until all the interactions are understood.

All of which are very sensible comments so far as I am concerned.
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Old 3rd Feb 2013, 18:48
  #588 (permalink)  
 
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I note your opinion, John Farley, and am of course willing to look at my takeaway from the "Harvard Business Review".

If the conclusion is mistaken, and/or based on something out of contextual foundation, I will immediately retract it.

I believe the text of the writer is self explanatory, that modular design relieves one of the necessity to "integrate" each component with the whole.

If that was meant sarcastically, (which I doubt), then I am indeed in need of reassessing.

Fracturing the design and composition, let alone the integration (assembly) of a complex technology (airframe) to me has always been lunacy.

I may have let that prejudice color my opinion.

So I am in your debt. Also, you are free to be as harsh as you wish, the thickness of my skin should be apparent by now. Gratuitous insult is something I have never seen you employ.

Best wishes, Sir
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Old 3rd Feb 2013, 18:50
  #589 (permalink)  
 
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it's very comforting to imagine the problem can be solved by outsourcing the whole package to a world-class supplier in a lower-cost environment.
Japan is not exactly "low cost" but the Japanese government subsidies to the tune of over $3B to the Japanese company involved in the 787 program was too good to pass.
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Old 3rd Feb 2013, 19:10
  #590 (permalink)  
 
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Three issues thus far John Farley.

1. The statement I quoted is false, so I stand by my criticism. It can be considered an opinion, so call it a disagreement. The author appears to want to discuss Design/Build, but even if that is the case, his commentary is incorrect.

2. He discusses "Organizational boundaries" when I am virtually certain what he means are "Interdisciplinary Theories". Again, he is entitled to an opinion, as I am. I can even see the source of his emphasis, he is in Business, and organization would be his emphasis.

3. He dismisses Integrative efforts if a design is "In House", which is contradictory, by definition. His claim that postponing Integration creates freedom for designers, may well be true, I can see its logic, but design was done and over prior to modularization, so unless he believes in time travel, his article
lays Boeing wide open for criticism, if not criminal prosecution.

I am definitely coming at his writing from a lateral perspective, and may be utterly wrong myself; if so, I will be the first to admit it, and should be.....

regards, Sir
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Old 3rd Feb 2013, 19:34
  #591 (permalink)  
 
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A Bit Of History Perhaps Unlearned

Having read the HBR and the reference articles, it is a good presentation. As in any article there are things not covered that are important. One thing is the old adage, "The one thing about history is that you learn you don't learn". And that is what this article confirms in the case of Boeing.

There is a good book titled "The Sporty Game", authored by John Newhouse. It is about the high-risk competitive business of making and selling commercial airliners. The part that pertains to Boeing basically centers around the development of the 747 that Boeing bet the farm on and nearly went bankrupt resulting from unforeseen problems that cropped up along the way. It was an airplane never before imagined relative to its size, weight and demands of the propulsion systems. Malcolm Stamper was in charge of producing the 747 and building a new plant to house the assembly. It was a job at which he worked at "seven days a week, 365 days a year for 4 years," he says. The difference then was the plane was essentially built in-house, albeit more than one Boeing plant and minus the engines that were manufactured by P&W. The point of this history is what the article is in a way about. Translate this to the producing of the 787, adding in the never before done technology and world wide outsourcing.

Also, keep in mind the not so long ago Airbus development and assembly experiences on the A-380, i.e., different versions of the CAD-CAM being used and how things didn't work out so well for awhile.

Even if you have local control over manufacturing and assembly for something you have never done before, you are going to have problems along the way. If however, you chose to out-source to suppliers things you have never done before, look out!

As problems with new methods and modular systems arise, you are in a weak position to respond rapidly, video conferencing doesn't hack it. Then, once you are behind the customer power curve (postponed deliveries, monetary penalties accruing, cancelled orders), all hell breaks loose. In the instance of the 747, the design was good, history has proven that, it took longer to get to that point than what was anticipated. This will be true for the 787 as well.

Out sourcing components has to be done with a supportable reason or reasons in mind. Reduced cost is generally never a good reason as it is only temporary. But there are three good reasons to out-source:

1. The out-source can do it better and has more knowledge than you do, an engine manufacturer or Li-ion battery supplier.
2. The out-source is a share to gain venture to enhance market share, like CFM56 International.
3. The out-source is the only way to enter a particular market with your product, like offset agreements to build a facility to produce some component/components in a country for product entrance to sell your product.

In all instances, the outsourcer has to provide oversight at the out-source facilities no matter where they are located in the world. Often this fact is lost in attempts to reduce costs or downsize employment levels at the outsourcer.
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Old 3rd Feb 2013, 19:49
  #592 (permalink)  
 
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Talk about jumping the gun.

I said I think outsourcing and modularization is lunacy, not that a firm like Boeing cannot make it work.

And they have.

My few issues have to do with the BATTERY. Collaterally with assembly, and with
possibly a problem with spec.


But MOSTLY with the possibility that BOEING may have acted unilaterally, without disclosure, and illegally, in the way they addressed a very serious problem.

No company can change the design and performance of an approved OEM safety required device without first disclosing the problem to FAA.

No one.

They appear to have replaced sufficient batteries to refit the entire fleet, PRIOR TO DISCLOSURE to the authority, whose job it would be then to assess the problem, accept or reject new solutions, and perhaps issue an AD.

Not to mention disclosing to the public the nature of the issue.

Something stinks, and it is not Interdisciplinary Disciplines. Well, actually......
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Old 3rd Feb 2013, 19:55
  #593 (permalink)  
 
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Perhaps some of my previous comments on this matter are appropriate: Boeing is a marketing company not an engineering company. Saving weight with lithium cobalt dioxide batteries packed cheek by jowl saves space for more marketable and fee generating cargo and slf amenities which contribute to shareholder value. The stock market forgets much more quickly than the families of a few dead passengers. I suspect the electrical system weights and redundancy decisions were made by MBA's, which like papal pronouncements in catholicism, are infallible in the corporate religion. No need to get your hands dirty (yecch!) with the actual physics and you can always wear a suit and look corporate.
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Old 3rd Feb 2013, 22:41
  #594 (permalink)  
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Some people think that - when you outsource - you can get away with less central control. But it is the other way around. The more you outsource, the more you need people at the centre who REALLY know what they are doing.

Boeing will survive this but their stock price could take a long time to recover and many heads have yet to roll.
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Old 4th Feb 2013, 01:00
  #595 (permalink)  
 
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Outsourcing

Hi,

PAXboy:

Some people think that - when you outsource - you can get away with less central control. But it is the other way around. The more you outsource, the more you need people at the centre who REALLY know what they are doing.


(You cannot outsource intelligence)

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Old 4th Feb 2013, 01:28
  #596 (permalink)  
 
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poorjohn,
Those who've worked in aerospace manufacturing over the past few decades will realize the truths in the HBR article.
You are absolutely correct!

John Farley,
My reading of the article is that it suggests it is very dangerous to outsource the design, development and manufacture of elements of a complex system before the interactions between the various elements are completely understood. Indeed it queries whether you cannot even write a decent outsourcing contract until all the interactions are understood.
So very true! Couple this together with language differences, although what may be presented to the outsourcer, written in English, the actual instructions for the workers are in the language of the out-source manufacturer, are they the same? Sometimes, they are not.

WilyB,
Japan is not exactly "low cost" but the Japanese government subsidies to the tune of over $3B to the Japanese company involved in the 787 program was too good to pass.
You bet! And both major Japanese airlines selected 787s not A-350s, not a coincidence I think.

Lyman,
2. He discusses "Organizational boundaries" when I am virtually certain what he means are "Interdisciplinary Theories".
You misunderstand. Organizational boundaries is exactly that. If you design and make section A, and I design and make section B we have to talk as they have to go together and work properly. And we both have to talk to those who design and make sections C, D, and E to be sure everything goes together and works. When you outsource all of the sections for design and build, it becomes crossing organization boundaries, think multiple corporation boundaries that adds complexity to something that is already complex. It is not "theory" at all.

PAXboy,
Some people think that - when you outsource - you can get away with less central control. But it is the other way around. The more you outsource, the more you need people at the centre who REALLY know what they are doing.
Absolutely correct!
It doesn't seem this worked well as a retired Boeing Exec. indicated.

Lyman,
But MOSTLY with the possibility that BOEING may have acted unilaterally, without disclosure, and illegally, in the way they addressed a very serious problem.
Can you substantiate this possibility, especially the illegal part?

Lyman,
They appear to have replaced sufficient batteries to refit the entire fleet, PRIOR TO DISCLOSURE to the authority, whose job it would be then to assess the problem, accept or reject new solutions, and perhaps issue an AD.
Not to mention disclosing to the public the nature of the issue.
Can you substantiate this as a fact? Can an airline change out all the engines on a 747, a 767, a 777 or a 787, not knowing what a problem might be, without notifying the FAA? What about the aircraft manufacturer?
During the testing process for the 747, 87 engines were used, 60 were destroyed during the testing process. Boeing had a dozen 747s sitting around with cement blocks suspended from the wings due to lack of engines. None of this prevented certification. The 747 was certified. Then, PanAm had six 747s sitting on the ground at JFK without engines when a new problem came up during revenue service. The FAA never grounded the airplane. Eventually the unknown causes of the problem were identified and all the PanAm planes began to fly again. As a Boeing Exec. said at the time "It is no fun producing gliders when your customer thinks you are producing a jet aircraft." I am sure that today's Boeing Executives are saying the same thing. I am also sure that everyone is working diligently and very hard to identify and correct the electric problem (note I say electric as it may not be the battery). Boeing just is not as swift to identify the problem as you seem to be or as you perceive Boeing should be to in getting to the goal line.
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Old 4th Feb 2013, 02:04
  #597 (permalink)  
 
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TD

Boeing cannot withold disclosure whan safety critical systems are not performing
as expected. Service life bears directly on performance specs. They have an absolute duty to disclose this to the authority. If you insist, I will support that with additional information.

And FAA has a duty to monitor.

"Organizational boundaries" are subject to interpretation. My assumption is that the author's intent was to prove a fatal flaw in integrative process, merely because two entities are cooperating, per contract in different locations.

Integration is part of all contracts between corporations in aerospace.

Ask Morton Thiokol.....or Rolls Royce.

And if it is not a part of the bid in the first paragraph, the bid is not read....
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Old 4th Feb 2013, 02:59
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787 Thales Battery is: 8 LVP65 cells, 2 PCB*, connectors, connections and case, OK?

Hi,

Turbine D:

The focus in the battery seems VERY CONSISTENT. As far we know:

1) 787 Thales Battery is: 8 LVP65 cells, 2 PCB*, connections, connectors and case.
2) Protections are inside the case.
3) Chargers presented minor faults as per NTSB briefing on BOS JAL
4) Over voltage was not recorded (the bus is not a factor for)
5) A battery of this type SHOULD be PROTECTED internally against outside faults (charger over voltage, diode module short circuit, ,excessive output current, cell voltages out of envelope, cell temperature and case temperature)
6) Two batteries failed

Its very difficult to imagine the main factor other than the battery. Its possible but IMO not probable.

There are chances to never understand clearly WHAT (sequence) and WHY in one or both cases.



PS

"It is no fun producing gliders when your customer thinks you are producing a jet aircraft."
Analogy can be made (production continues)

saptzae:

No need, we can do that better by ourselves




(*) including temp sensor(s)
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Old 4th Feb 2013, 08:38
  #599 (permalink)  

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Lyman

The statement I quoted is false, so I stand by my criticism
I see this statement as correct which is why I said you had misunderstood the HBR article. (as it happens I see several other posters since share my view).

The explanation of your misunderstanding is that when there is no outsourcing an aircraft company design office has many different specialist teams that are by definition already integrated in the one design office. If on the other hand specialist tasks are outsourced to one or more organistations you have to set up another home team to specifically integrate their efforts with those at home.

It is a pity you give no evidence of your education, training or experience which would help people respond to many of your seemingly incorrect notions around various PPRuNe threads. Of course you could also be a wind up merchant. We have no way of knowing.
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Old 4th Feb 2013, 10:38
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slight thread drift...
NiCd and NiMh do a good job.
In the early nineties (?) I wrote to CAA UK detailing the dangers of "re-celled" (reconditioned) Nicads that broadcast camera crews in the UK had begun to use.
Whilst the manufacturer of these popular camera batteries spot welded the metal strips that joined the cells the company offering the re-celling service used solder. The result one day was a solder joint broke, the metal strip slipped and created a short circuit. The battery was in transit in the back of a camera car and it caused a fire.

The crew had recently travelled on a commercial flight.

At the time there was a fuse on camera battery output, but individual cells had no protection and so a typical 13Ah 14 volt Ni-cad broadcast camera battery, if shorted internally could deliver a hundred amps.

Ni-cad is rarely used in camera batteries these days, the use of Lithium ion has enabled thermal protection for each cell and very sophisticated charging and monitoring. Of course lithium can hold its charge for many years so it is a good choice, in theory, for a standby battery.

I did not receive a response from the CAA and found it ironic that years later, following a series of lithium fores of the course of 5 years and the fire of a pallet of thousands of small lithium batteries at Gatwick Airport restrictions were put on the amount of lithium ion in a single battery enclosure (not more than 25 grams).

Yet nicads and Metal hydrides have no restrictions and are more likely to start a fire in my view, albeit a fire that is more easily extinguished than a lithium fire.

So it appeared to me that there is respect for the problems of extinguishing a lithium battery fire, but there was (is?) less respect for other battery types that are as or more likely to cause a fire.

Battery = kinetic energy = potential threat.
Over charging is a common cause of battery fires and since aircraft such as the A380 have 240/120volt in the seat back to power and charge laptops we haven't heard the last of on-board battery fires.
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