Seattle, Washington, September 11, 2001 –
Boeing is installing Device Technologies' Spring-Fast® on U.S. Army CH-47 helicopters, providing improved protection against wire damage and further broadening the composite grommet's application in military aircraft.
Spring-Fast was specified and ordered after Boeing determined the grommet offers better long-term wiring protection and is significantly less expensive to install than the nylon grommets used for decades by aircraft manufacturers.
“This is Boeing's latest Spring-Fast contract for military aircraft
applications, and it is an important win for us,” Device Technologies President Nicholas Petri said. “Not only will Boeing see the safety advantages of using the new-technology Spring-Fast grommets, it will be able to reduce CH-47 production costs.”
Boeing had a new dispenser cart custom built to allow rolls of Spring-Fast to be easily maneuvered along the CH-47 production line in Philadelphia, PA. This mobile Cutter Cart® carries all eight sizes of Spring-Fast, and includes a scale to measure the amount of grommet necessary, along with built-in shears to cut the material to desired strip lengths. This unique cart is being exhibited by Device Technologies for the first time at the Aerospace Congress and Exhibition (ACE), which is being held Sept. 11-13 in Seattle, Washington.
The Spring-Fast grommet quickly snaps into place on openings in avionics racks, ribs, bulkheads intercostals and other airframe structures – using only the pressure applied by an installer's fingers. Once mounted, Spring-Fast remains indefinitely in position to provide a cushion between sharp metallic edges and an aircraft's wiring, cabling and tubing.
The product is a composite of polymer encapsulated spring stainless steel enhanced by a protective cushion. Spring-Fast has been approved by the U.S. Defense Department and Federal Aviation Administration per NASM 22529/2 for all aircraft applications.
Spring-Fast replaces traditional nylon grommets, which require toxic adhesives to install. Nylon grommets eventually can dry out and become brittle – cracking or falling off the installed surface and leaving wires or tubing exposed to sharp-edged metallic surfaces.
Other benefits of Spring-Fast's use include the elimination of worker exposure to hazardous materials/VOCs (volatile organic compounds) and disposal issues, since the Device Technologies grommet edging requires no toxic adhesives.
Spring-Fast's cost and installation time are significantly less than for nylon grommets per 12.75-inch strip – a typical length used on the CH-47 helicopter. Each CH-47 is fitted with a few hundred feet of grommet material, and Boeing determined that it would save in excess of 60% when Spring-Fast is used instead of nylon grommets.
Adding to the installation complexity of traditional nylon grommets on the CH-47 was the need to use a tie wrap to hold them in place until the adhesive cures – a process that typically takes from 8 to 24 hours. In some cases, the tie wrap became bonded in place along with the nylon grommet itself and required additional rework. For Spring-Fast, its grip strength eliminates the need for tie wraps or other fixation aids, and once an installer has put the Device Technologies grommet in place, no additional treatment is necessary.
Device Technologies, Inc. originally developed Spring-Fast for the electronics industry, and the grommet is widely used today in computers, network switching systems, hospital equipment and other applications.
The company subsequently began offering Spring-Fast to the aerospace industry, and the product has been gaining recognition as wiring protection becomes an increasingly important safety issue after the TWA Flight 800 and Swissair 111 airliner crashes.
Spring-Fast currently is used on a range of aircraft, including the Boeing/U.S. Air Force C-17 military transport, Agusta's HITRON TEN A190 helicopter for the U.S. Coast Guard, the Eurocopter/U.S. Coast Guard HH-65 Dolphin helicopter, as well as in executive jets, personal aircraft, airliner seats, avionics, in-flight entertainment systems, auxiliary power systems and a variety of aircraft modification applications.
Device Technologies is based in Marlborough, Massachusetts, U.S.A., and operates a 9,000 square-foot Class A manufacturing facility for the production of Spring-Fast. The ISO 9001:2000-certified company has established an international sales and support network for its aerospace sales.
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