Embraer Executive Aircraft LLC recently started to assemble its popular Phenom 100 jet in Melbourne, FL. The entry-level executive jet holds six passengers and has a range of 1,178 nautical miles.

Embraer’s 80,000-square-foot facility features the latest aerospace production technology, claims Phil Krull, managing director. For instance, assemblers are equipped with PC tablets, a paperless manufacturing execution system, and battery-powered fastening tools. Krull says the new facility also uses a state-of-the-art paint shop and fixturing for fuselage-wing mating, empennage and engine installation.

Lean manufacturing tools, such as visual management and planned material flow, play a key role on the plant floor. “Teams are set up in cells to utilize lean and six sigma tools for continuous improvement,” says Krull. “Work instructions are simplified and all resources, such as tools and kits, are easily accessible to assemblers.

“We use a modular hangar layout in order to allow easy future expansions with no impact on original planned flows,” adds Krull. “And, no overhead crane use allows process optimization.”

Embraer hopes to reinvigorate aerospace manufacturing activity in central Florida, which has been widely affected by the end of the Space Shuttle program. “We currently have 69 qualified engineers and other aviation technicians-some of which are former NASA employees-working on the Phenom 100 assembly line,” Krull points out. “We expect to have a total of 200 employees hired by the end of 2012 . . . and we expect to fully ramp up production in 2013.”

Embraer is currently constructing a second facility in Melbourne that will allow customers to design the interiors of their jets using state-of-the-art 3D visualization technology. It is scheduled to be completed by the time the first Phenom 100 rolls off the plant floor in the fourth quarter of this year.