Modern commercial jets are incredibly complicated to design and assemble. Comprised of tens of thousands of parts, simply getting the correct component to the correct spot at the correct time can often be a daunting task-a task made all the more difficult in the aerospace industry by the consequences if it’s not done correctly.

To help solve this problem, Airbus (Toulouse, France) recently implemented a new “trolley tray” fastener kitting system from fastener manufacturer Alcoa Fastening Systems (AFS-Torrance, CA) to help organize its new A320 final-assembly plant in Tianjin, China.

As is the case with Airbus’ original A320 plant in Hamburg, Germany, AFS supplies the Chinese plant with all the fasteners used in the plant’s fuselage and wing joint area. By supplying the necessary fasteners via a set of convenient point-of-use trays, AFS ensures that the operators at each workstation have the correct fasteners where and when they need them.

The kits employ a color-coding system that both error proofs the process and allows technicians to find the fasteners as quickly as possible. In addition, the kits include a selection of additional fastener grip lengths, which allows operators to accommodate minor joint variation and other normal assembly issues.

As a result, technicians no longer have to waste time searching for the correct fasteners, thereby significantly improving speed and accuracy. Because Airbus only pays for the fasteners it actually uses, it has also been able to reduce overall inventory.

A subsidiary of Alcoa Inc. (Pittsburgh), AFS manufactures a wide range of mechanical fasteners and installation tools for use in everything from the aerospace, automotive and commercial transportation industries to the manufacture of HVAC equipment and shopping carts. Specific products include blind rivets, blind bolts, Lockbolts, and a full line of pneumatic and hydraulic tooling and installation equipment.

For additional information on mechanical fasteners and kitting systems,