When The Boeing Company needed to expand its massive aircraft assembly facility in order to produce the 777, Boeing’s value jetliner, the company once again called on The Austin Company to tackle the project. The original facility was designed, engineered and constructed by Austin in 1966.
The 777 expansion project required an intricate underground system of utility tunnels and trenches. Austin dug 6,500 feet of tunnels to accommodate utility mains and that are designed for emergency evacuation, and 11,500 feet of trenches to facilitate utility installation. The expansion also included adding eight cranes to the plant’s existing overhead crane system. The cranes, each capable of lifting 40 tons, are used to handle components and subassemblies and to move airplane parts from one assembly position to another.
Overall, the facility consists of six main building structures. The main structural system of each building consists of three 50-foot-wide, five-story towers supporting 300 to 350 feet of clear span trusses. The clear height to the underside of these trusses is 85 feet. In addition to storing parts for a variety of aircraft assembly functions, the high-bay support towers include office areas and cafeterias.
An interesting fact for this facility is that it is in the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest industrial building in the world by volume.