Small Business Information
9063 Bee Caves Road, Austin, TX, -
AbstractIn the current aircraft manufacturing environment there is an ongoing need to increase production rates and efficiencies. One of the innovations that has decreased fabrication times is bonded nutplates. Adhesively bonded nutplates can be installed in a fraction of the time required for the installation of riveted nutplates. Labor savings of 50-80% are possible by replacing riveted nutplates with bonded nutplates. While these savings are significant, opportunities exist for additional labor and cost reductions. During Phase I TRI/Austin will develop a one-component peel-and-stick nutplate adhesive that will eliminate the need for surface preparation or application of adhesive to the nutplates. This technology will be based on an acrylic based adhesive that will provide increased assembly speed and lower assembly costs. Recent advances in anaerobically cured adhesives make it now possible to formulate adhesives that will cure rapidly on low energy surfaces including stainless steel and polymer matrix composites. The overall objective of the Phase I effort will be development of adhesive systems that are tailored specifically for peel and stick nutplate installation. This will result in a process that is more efficient while producing bonds that are reliable in terms of adhesion performance. Processes will be developed to pre-apply the adhesive to nutplates before the bagging procedure. Activation of the adhesive will occur when the adhesive is mated to the substrate during installation. BENEFIT: The need for improved efficiencies in aircraft manufacturing is ever present. Aircraft specifications require tight tolerances in the manufacturing process, and the proposed technology will eliminate the manual application of adhesive. Automation is particularly important in F-35 assembly, where the production rate is projected to reach one per day. Bonded nutplates are used in other manufacturing areas including commercial airliners, helicopters, launch vehicles, satellites, yachts, buses, trucks, racecars, and sporting goods. These areas will benefit from the improved bonding rates as well.
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