Global Fastener News

2008 FIN – Chopper Revamp Cuts Fastener Use

June 23
00:00 2013

April 23, 2008 FIN – A program to revamp the U.S. Army’s CH-47 Chinook twin-rotor helicopters has led to a streamlined assembly process that uses 35% fewer fasteners, Flight International reports.

The new airframe sections utilize more machined parts and integrated features to make assembly easier.
“We have reduced parts count by 35% and fastener count by 35% and have much more repeatable assembly,” said program manager Ken Eland.
The original plan to refurbish the helicopter airframes was altered because it’s more cost-effective to manufacture new airframe sections. The CH-47 airframe incorporates true manufacturing splices, making it feasible to replace entire sections.
The process begins by stripping a CH-47, taking the cockpit off, and removing the rotors and dynamic system and sending them for overhaul. Workers take the aft fuselage and cabin, media-blast strip it to bare metal, then inspect and repair it before bolting on a new cockpit.
“We can take the cockpit off an aircraft built in 1970, build a new cockpit and splice it on repeatably, explained Eland.
The cost of a new airframe has been trimmed through “right-sourcing” – outsourcing the detail parts so the plant can focus on final assembly.
The program was intended to remanufacture the Chinooks to restore them and increase capability.
Boeing has the capacity to produce 50-60 new, renewed and remanufactured Chinooks a year, and delivered 36 in 2007. In addition to the new aircraft for the Netherlands and Canada, several countries are expected to remanufacture their CH-47s or buy new-build F models. Boeing has previously listed India, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia as potential customers. ©2008/2013 Fastener Industry News.
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