What is it that pushes us to consistently manufacture better and more innovative aerospace fasteners?
The answer to this question lies in the history of industrial fastener production here in the UK and how it has changed over the years to leave Great Britain a pioneer of fastener development.
Whilst we still produce well over 100,000 tonnes of fasters annually in the UK; this is a far cry from the Victorian era, when virtually every fastener on planet earth was forged somewhere in the East Midlands.
Today, with much of that production now centred in Asia, it’s the specialised and demanding requirements of the aerospace industry that keeps Britain a part of this thriving billion-dollar industry.
Essential components making it all fit together
Being able to produce highly specialised fasteners as part of an intricate supply chain is key to what sets the UK and EU markets apart from others.
As commercial aviation continues to grow apace, airlines are fighting a battle to ensure that they can meet the increasing demands of the consumer whilst hitting ever more challenging sustainability targets.
Airlines naturally look to their engineers for the answers; and as they develop ever more innovative wings, fuselages and landing gear, it’s incumbent on the fastener industry to develop with them.
Demand led by innovation
Demand for new types of fasteners has never been higher. There are two main reasons for this; new materials and new production processes.
New commercial aircraft development is pioneered by increasingly light-weight and innovative materials. Yet these materials still need those fundamentals of engineering – nuts and bolts – to hold them together.
This ever-increasing use of new technology leads us to challenge ourselves; how can our fasteners offer engineers the clean, light-weight solutions they require?
Aerospace fasteners must not only be extremely light and durable, in many cases they must work seamlessly on composite to composite, metal to composite, and metal to metal.
The changing face of production
Production demands in the commercial aviation sector are one of the biggest challenge we face.
Getting it wrong leads to serious delays in the development process. For example, over 5000 fasteners per aircraft had to be replaced in the early stages of the Dreamliner development programme. Needless to say, that the cost to the project was pretty eye-watering.
So, making sure we are part of a tried and trusted supply chain programme, such as SC21, is vital.
However, we also need to tailor specialist fasteners to work with innovations in production, such as compatibility with robotic installers.
The latest development in this area has been the sudden rise of 3D printing. These new and exciting manufacturing techniques are leading to the printing of entire airframe structures.
Ensuring a steady supply of readily compatible fasteners in this rapidly shifting sector requires ever more expertise and responsiveness.
A bit about us
At JP Aero we are committed to all industry wide targets as part of our involvement in the SC21 programme, for which we currently have Bronze status and and are on target to reach Silver by 2019.
To find out more about JPA and how we play a leading role in the aerospace supply chain with our range of aerospace, industrial, vintage and historic and bespoke fasteners contact us today on +44 (0)208 504 8833 or get in touch via email: email@example.com.
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Image used: Public Domain