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Frazer-Nash and Kwikbolt improve aircraft assembly with 3D printed fastener

Frazer-Nash utilizes Renishaw's metal AM to produce fastener for client Kwikbolt

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UK-based precision engineering company Frazer-Nash Manufacturing works with a broad range of clients, many of them in the food manufacturing and aerospace sectors. Since as early as 2014, the company has relied on Renishaw’s metal additive manufacturing technology to produce complex, high quality parts for its clients.

Recently, Frazer-Nash added a Renishaw AM 400 3D printer to its metal AM arsenal, enabling it to produce a novel fastener component for one of its clients, Kwikbolt. The 3D printed fastener, which is designed to be used during aircraft assembly, benefited from lower production costs and times compared to traditional subtractive machining methods.

Frazer-Nash Kwikbolt

Frazer-Nash has been working closely with British metal AM expert Renishaw since it installed its first Renishaw AM 250 3D printer in-house in 2014. Over the years, the precision engineering firm added additional Renishaw hardware to its capabilities, including the AM 400 system, which boasts a build volume of 250 × 250 × 300 mm and open materials parameters.

Arguably one of the most successful projects Frazer-Nash has experienced with the AM 400 was for its customer Kwikbolt, a UK-based, privately-owned business specializing in the design and production of single-sided temporary fasteners for the aerospace and defense industries.

Frazer-Nash Kwikbolt

In fact, Kwikbolt is one of the few companies in the world to produce a specific temporary fastener, which is used in aircraft assembly to align the craft’s panels and fuselage. The part significantly simplifies the manufacturing process and enables aerospace companies to achieve the assembly without the use of custom tools for each panel. In other words, the fastener reduces the cost of assembly, while speeding up the process and improving precision.

Today, Frazer-Nash 3D prints the Kwikbolt fasteners using Renishaw’s AM 400 machine. Compared to subtractive manufacturing, AM allows for a simpler production process as well as for custom geometries to be produced at a lower cost

Frazer-Nash Kwikbolt

“By using AM, Frazer-Nash is able to produce components cost-effectively in small batch sizes,” said Stuart Offer, AM Sales Manager at Renishaw. “In contrast to machining, no custom tooling is required, which results in improvements in speed and a reduction in manufacturing costs, particularly for such a difficult to machine part.”

Paul Mortlock, Managing Director at Frazer-Nash, added: “The Kwikbolt project is a true AM success story. Using AM means we can easily produce a bespoke component based on each aerospace customer’s requirements. Renishaw’s AM systems have been flawless since we started working together. Frazer-Nash now produces 25,000 AM parts a year and has expanded its range of components.

“Over the last five years, we have developed a close partnership with Renishaw. We originally chose to partner with Renishaw due to its support services and we have found these to be invaluable.”

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Tess Boissonneault

Tess Boissonneault is a Montreal-based content writer and editor with five years of experience covering the additive manufacturing world. She has a particular interest in amplifying the voices of women working within the industry and is an avid follower of the ever-evolving AM sector. Tess holds a master's degree in Media Studies from the University of Amsterdam.

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