The aerospace and defense industries are always looking for new ways to improve productivity while maintaining strict quality standards required for critical assemblies, such as fuselages, wing panels, tail assemblies and other aircraft components. To do this, many manufacturers are investing in various forms of automation. However, the required precision and tight tolerances, as well as low production volumes, make automation a challenge for aerospace and defense manufacturers. Many are taking a hybrid approach, using manual assembly processes alongside robotic automation.
Precision fastening tools, like the QX SeriesTM from Ingersoll Rand®, can bridge the automation gap by enabling workers with many automated functions built into their precision fastening tools. These tools integrate automation with manual assembly processes using software that automatically counts fasteners as they are tightened, and monitors and records that they have been secured correctly, ensuring traceability. If a fastener is missed, or incorrectly installed, the tool notifies the operator and the issue can be addressed before it becomes a systemic quality issue.
If an aerospace manufacturer is using shut-off torque control tools to tighten a section on an aircraft sub-assembly, and reaches the desired torque, the tool cannot strip screws. When the tool strips a screw, workers are forced to spend more time drilling out and replacing it on the production line. Additionally, shut-off torque control tools are susceptible to drops in compressed air pressure. If the required air pressure is not being delivered to the tools, they may shut-off before they hit the torque required for accurate assembly.
This problem can be solved by replacing shut-off torque control tools with transducerized screwdrivers that have advanced torque control capabilities and angle inspection. These features will eliminate the torque over-shoot issue, and the on-board pass/fail indicator will provide immediate feedback if an angle failure occurs. These tooling improvements can significantly reduce the re-work required on the sub-assembly. With the increased uptime and improved production rates, a manufacturer can expect to recoup the new tool investment within a few short months.
For more information about the QX Series visit irtools.com/qxseries.