The world’s biggest building produces legends

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January 25, 2017

The numbers are simply amazing and cannot fail to impress. 

The world’s biggest building, by volume, is the workplace for 30,000, produces 25,000 meals a day from 20 cafeterias and its area is bigger than Disneyland. 

In many ways it is indeed a magic kingdom, where the world’s largest aerospace company Boeing has produced 4,600 widebody planes – the 747, 767, 777 and 787 since 1968. 

Boeing’s Everett production building in Washington State is over 1km long and ½ km wide and you could fit 911 basketball courts inside. The massive production facility has six doors, each a canvas for artwork depicting the company’s planes.

And what a canvas — each door is the size of an American football field.

But the factory itself is just part of a massive industrial complex that includes three huge paint hangars, sprawling flight lines, a plane delivery centre that is as big as an airport terminal, office blocks and a new wing assembly plant.

The whole facility covers an area of 415 hectares.

Built in 1968 the plant doubled in size to accommodate production of the 767 in 1980 and was expanded again by 50 per cent in 1993 to build the 777.

It is now one of the most popular tourist attractions in Washington State. Boeing started tours of the factory when it was building the first 747 and since then more than 3.5 million people have seen the facility.

The factory has 26 overhead cranes that cruise on 72 kilometres of networked tracks and these cranes make 45,000 lifts a month to support the building of approximately 20 planes a month.

Painting the planes is also a feat. It takes up to seven days to paint a plane and a 747 requires 454 litres while a 787 a little less at about 370 litres.  

Soon the Everett plant will start building the company’s newest plane the Boeing 777X which is a total revamp of the widely used 777.

That plane, which Qantas is expected to buy, will be capable of new non-stop routes as Perth to Los Angeles and Sydney to New York. 
Geoffrey Thomas was a guest of Boeing and Qantas.