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 tools.
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 Citation X.
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 hammers.
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 rear exhaust.
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 www.atlascopco.com.