Boeing Approves Dish Soap Supplier for Spirit Aero Systems in Unique Production Method

Boeing has taken on a unique twist as Boeing has officially signed off on Spirit AeroSystems’ method of using Dawn dish soap and a hotel key card in its manufacturing process. This unconventional approach was brought to light after a recent Federal Aviation Administration audit of the production of the Boeing 737 MAX.

The audit was prompted by an incident where a panel known as a door plug blew off a 737 MAX 9 during an Alaska Airlines flight in January. Subsequent examination revealed several issues at both Boeing and Spirit AeroSystems, the supplier responsible for manufacturing the fuselage of the 737 MAX.

Spirit AeroSystems has faced scrutiny for its quality problems in recent years and financial losses. However, the use of dish soap and a hotel key card in the manufacturing process has now been clarified. Both items have been approved by Boeing and documented for use as factory tools known as shop aids, meeting FAA standards.

Aero System
Aero System

According to Spirit AeroSystems, the dish soap and hotel key card are innovative solutions to improve efficiency in the production process. Joe Buccino, a spokesperson for Spirit, stated, “People look at the hotel key card or Dawn soap and think this is sloppy, but this is actually an innovative approach to solving for an efficient shop aid.” Boeing has also confirmed approval of these unconventional tools.

During the FAA audit at Spirit AeroSystems’ factory in Wichita, Kan., the use of a hotel key card to check a door seal was identified. This method was developed by Spirit mechanics to ensure a proper fit without damaging the seal. A similar tool resembling the key card was later created and approved for use by Boeing.

The use of Dawn dish soap in the manufacturing process was also observed by the FAA. Spirit mechanics applied the soap as a lubricant in the fit-up process to prevent tears or bulging in the seal installation. After further evaluation, the chemical properties of the soap were found to be suitable for the task and were approved by Boeing.

Spirit AeroSystems has emphasized that these unconventional methods are the result of creative problem-solving to enhance production efficiency. The company’s engineers have worked to ensure that all tools and processes meet the necessary standards and regulations.

Despite initial concerns raised by the FAA audit, Boeing and Spirit AeroSystems have addressed the use of dish soap and a hotel key card in their manufacturing process and have received official approval for these unique methods.

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