Recently, Triumph Aerostructures-Vought Aircraft Div. assessed ergonomic injuries at each of its manufacturing facilities. One area of concern was cumulative trauma disorders related to handheld power tools.
Recently, Triumph Aerostructures-Vought Aircraft Div. (TAVAD) assessed
ergonomic injuries at each of its manufacturing facilities. One area of concern
was cumulative trauma disorders related to handheld power
At the company’s Nashville, TN, plant, TAVAD assemblers use drills and rivet
hammers to build large wing components for commercial and business aircraft.
Models include the Airbus A330 and A340, Gulfstream G350 and G450, and Cessna
Also assembled at the Nashville plant are tail sections for the Lockheed Martin
C-130J Super Hercules military transport aircraft, the most widely used cargo
plane in the world.
To meet the company’s updated ergonomic goals and increase productivity,
assemblers at the Nashville plant use three series of pneumatic hand tools from
Atlas Copco: LBV angle drills, LBB piston drills and RRH rivet
Mike Kelley, plant safety manager, has been familiar with these tools since
1995, when he worked for Vought’s Dallas manufacturing plant. He says the
company investigated various air-powered tools from an ergonomic standpoint,
and the Atlas Copco tools were the most advanced.
“They are smaller, lighter, and engineered so well that they barely vibrate in
your hand,” says Kelley.
LBV angle drills are for drilling in awkward spaces. They feature 30-, 45-, 90-
and 360-degree-angle heads and multiple lever options, and come with side or
LBB pistol-grip drills are high-torque units that feature a support handle and
an optional dust-extraction device. They offer low noise levels and air
consumption and are lubrication free.
RRH riveting hammers can handle rivets up to 13 millimeters in diameter. The
hammers feature a vibration-damped RBB bucking bar for smooth, comfortable
operation. Their air servo system produces efficient recoil dampening by
automatically adapting to varying feed force situations.
A protective sleeve safeguards the user from excessive vibration transmitted to
the forward hand when aligning the hammer-die on the workpiece. The trigger
allows adjustable power for increased operator control.
Kelley admits there was some reluctance to invest in the tools due to high
cost. “We are now buying new tools to the value of $250,000 annually for the
next five years,” he says. “But when we analyzed the cost benefits of longer
tool life, we decided to make the investment.”
The Nashville facility provides various wing components-some measuring more
than 100 feet long-for the Airbus A330 and A340. Deliveries for the
airplanes began in 1990, and more than 1,000 wing component units have been
shipped to date.
This facility has been a key supplier to the Gulfstream family of aircraft
since 1965. For the Gulfstream G350 and G450 series business jets, the facility
builds the aircraft wing. For the Cessna Citation X business jet, the facility
produces the upper and lower wing panel assemblies.
For more information on pneumatic hand tools, call 800-859-3746 or visit