(SEATTLETIMES) — At a secret facility in Anacortes, more than 40 miles north of Boeing’s widebody-jet plant in Everett, a small group of engineers next month will begin testing advanced automation methods for building the soon-to-be-launched 777X jet.

The hush-hush project reveals Boeing intends to dramatically change the way the plane’s metal hull is built, reducing manual labor on that task while ramping up the overall production rate.

“We’re going to build the fuselage differently than we do now,” said a senior Boeing engineer familiar with details of the plan. “We’re going to introduce a whole lot of automation.”

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