Nearly one million fasteners are used in a large aircraft, it is a fascinating and integral part of aircraft production, and their accurate measurement can make production lines far more efficient.
But what is a fastener?
A fastener is a device that mechanically joins or affixes two or more objects together. There are a wide variety of permanent and non-permanent fastener types used in the assembly of the body and wings of the aircraft, holding a complex structure of panels, cladding and ribbing together.
When engineers design an aircraft, they need to consider the type of joint the fastener will be applied to eg shear or tension. They will also need to consider the type of load that will be transferred through the joint. Aeroplane loads may include those experienced during flying, towing, wind-gusts, landing, take-off – the list is endless, and fasteners need to take account of when and how these loads are transferred throughout the aircraft. Fastener numbers and diameter are calculated to transfer this load.
The dimensions of fasteners are key to the structural safety of the aircraft and to fuel efficiency by reducing drag or making surfaces aerodynamically efficient. In the production of aircraft, the size of rivets and fastener holes needs to be consistent and measurable.
Third Dimension’s GapGun laser measuring tool enables preventative inspection of countersink holes to be carried out quicker than ever.
The GapGun is used by all three major turbine engine manufacturers and several Tier 1 suppliers to control chamfers, radii and break sharp edges (BSE) on turbine blades and rotatives or discs.