The increased demand for both passenger and freight aircraft, combined with a highly-competitive market1, is putting increasing pressure on aerospace manufacturers to achieve greater levels of productivity and output. One aircraft has more than two million bolts, thus has more than two million fasteners2. Fastening together different parts of an airplane requires an operator to maneuver within several intricate crevices and compartments. The right tools and equipment help to ensure accuracy, safety and repeatability while still achieving increased productivity. Specialty fasteners and custom assembly tool heads enable aerospace manufacturers to work and assemble intricate aircraft components.
Today’s assembly tools help aerospace manufacturers produce more complex products while maximizing efficiency. For example, Ingersoll Rand® manufactures QX Series™ precision fastening tools that provide users with programmable torque control, traceability and batch count capabilities. Mechanisms called custom tool heads can be attached to tools to help operators secure specialty fasteners on an aircraft. Tool heads are affixed to a tool so that operators have versatile fastening solutions. Fastening tools with custom heads also control torque for the fastening task at hand. These combined components offer manufacturers a precision tool that can be customized for particular fastening tasks in aerospace applications.
There are four common custom tool head options available for aerospace manufacturing, so assemblers can evaluate what is best for specific operations that require several different fastener shapes and sizes.
- Geared offset tool heads are used to fasten bolts in tight spaces while still providing precision control of the fastening process. This head is shaped so that operators can maneuver and fasten bolts in the small, awkward areas of an aircraft.
- Fluid lines or air lines of an aircraft require fasteners with compression fittings. With a tube nut wrench, operators can tighten a fastener around a line with accurate torque to mitigate leaks and easily remove the tool to move on to the next task.
- “Skinning” components on an aircraft typically involves assembling the outer shell of aircraft parts, such as the wings or fuselage. This technique requires a custom head specific for temporary fasteners. This head allows operators to apply placeholder fasteners in holes that are drilled, and keeps the holes centered between the outer metal panels before the permanent fasteners are applied.
- Hold and drive tool heads are used for fasteners that are designed to break off once the desired torque is reached.
The aerospace industry is facing tremendous output demands. A key component to an efficient, flexible operation is a highly accurate tool that can adapt to several applications with the use of specialty heads. Minimizing production time helps manufacturers manage costs and sends airplanes off to where they belong – at 30,000 feet.
For more information on Ingersoll Rand QX assembly tools or custom heads, visit irtools.com/qxseries.