A faster and more accurate alternative to curret Rivet replacement practices, ( particularly on Airframes ). The Rivet Hole Alignment Tool has the advantage of reducing the demands on the technician whilst eliminating errors related to drill or reamer alignment and centering.
In discussions with BAE Systems, who have the contract to maintain Australia's fleet of Jet Trainers, it was lamented that the repair cost and preventative maintenance cost on Airframes was significant due to the skill level required in the technicians performing Rivet replacement and the high incidence of hole and panel damage due to mis aligned holes caused by taking out the existing Rivet and sizing the holes exactly. Could a device be designed that allowed the exact Rivet centre to be found, irrespective of location on Airframe, allowing accurate removal of existing rivet and accurate sizing of hole for Rivet replacement. This issue was industry wide both in the military as well as commercial and private fleets.
The Rivet Hole Alignment Tool our design team came up with, ( with input from BAE ), is a hand-held tool for the alignment of drills/reamers on structures requiring high dimensional tolerance and/or precise positioning of drilled features, for example aircraft structures. The fully adjustable tool is aligned precisely with the rework hole in terms of position and orientation, locked in place and then used to guide commercially available hand-held drills or reamers such that holes can be reliably drilled or reworked in very small increments and to precise tolerances. The tool can be attached to any near flat surface on the rework article at any orientation, including perpendicular and upside down, without the need for additional clamping mechanisms. It is powered by common workshop air supplies and is compatible with standard fittings. Consumables for the tool are inexpensive and simple to manufacture.
Aircraft repair and life extension programs both current and future exist throughout the aircraft industry as worldwide military and civil fleets get older and the Rivet Hole Alignment Tool is perfect for improving the efficiency and effectiveness of such programs. The tool also has potential application outside the aircraft industry where fatigue or weight consideration demand precise hole tolerances or where the costs of rectification or repair are high, such as high performance land and sea vehicles and the space, power and nuclear industries. It is validated by BAE and Boeing technicians that the tool reduces the time to replace a High torque rivet by > 50% with a greater than > 75% reduction in potential for damage to holes / panels. The skill level required for Rivet replacement has reduced further allowing for greater cost benefit.
Other Key Features
Feedback from export destinations has backed up our performance claims with the Rivet Hole Alignment Tool being able to recoup its investment cost in under 3 months. The success of this product has led to the employement of 4 staff in the areas of CNC Machining, Industrial Design and Assembly. It is anticipated that within 18 months the product will support 10 FTE's.