Putting the space back into aerospace assembly

April 11, 2023

Accessibility is always going to be a challenge in aerospace assembly.

From the tip of the tail to the last nut on the nascelle, every aeroplane is designed to be as space-saving, as light in weight and as aerodynamic as possible. This raises some interesting challenges for those who are tasked with making the aeroplane hold together while defying everything that gravity, passengers and the weather can throw at it!

There are many considerations that influence aerospace component design. The need for a smooth exterior skin with minimal drag means that fixings cannot have protruding heads. Weight constraints, which are necessary to achieve the fuel economies that keep aeroplanes commercially viable, have led to increasing use of CFRP materials. This has a knock-on effect for fixings and fasteners. In addition to classic screws, nuts and bolts, the industry uses shear and tension fasteners, fasteners with or without frangible collars, and specialty brands like Hi-Lite and Hi-Lok.

The same nuances in materials selection, aerodynamic design, space saving and weight reduction mean that assembly equipment also has to be adapted to the demands of the aerospace industry. Specialist tools are required in order to deliver the precision, quality and repeatability that aerospace assembly demands, however cramped the working conditions.

And this is the space that Desoutter occupies. Durability, accuracy, quality and reliability are part of our DNA. With an in-depth appreciation of the challenges that arise in aerospace assembly, coupled with more than a century of tool manufacturing expertise, we can make sure that tooling technologies evolve at a pace that matches or even anticipates the industry’s fixing requirements. Saltus Aerospace picture
Aerospace picture with Saltus One recent example is our range of tightening solutions with SALTUS geared front attachments on Desoutter handheld tools. Ideal for aerospace applications, Desoutter with SALTUS offers a selection of crowfoots and can be combined with a 90° or 110° angle head. This makes it simple to orient the tool for optimum tightening: whether you are working on the port or starboard side. For added flexibility, the new attachment is suitable for use on tube nuts as well as standard nuts and bolts – with or without a hold & drive option. It can also be used with AsterTM bits and fasteners.

Another example is our use of digital twin technology. This ensures that each tool has a virtual double, which makes maintenance and parts ordering much simpler – and means that an accurate record of the tool’s history is always available.