France-based, JPB Système, a leading manufacturer of self-locking devices for the aerospace industry, has announced the proof-of-concept release of SMART WASHER, a disruptive sealing technology designed to improve efficiencies within MRO operations by enabling touchless and wireless measurement of bolt axial load.
The company also anticipates that the solution will improve safety by providing more accurate measurements while reducing wear caused by the need to manually check each fastener is tightened sufficiently – further improving cost efficiencies.
Introducing an advanced level of smart connectivity to mechanical engineering, SMART WASHER performs the fundamental role of a standard washer, but uses intelligent connectivity to provide maintenance and service engineers with a clear picture of axial loads. This has been achieved by incorporating a proprietary strain gauge, as well as a transmission system into the washer, which via an accompanying app, combine to wirelessly relay information on smart devices, such as tablets and smartphones.
Importantly, SMART WASHER is expected to significantly increase the efficiency of assembly and maintenance operations by reducing the need to manually check the torque level of every single traditional bolt. Instead, in just a few seconds engineers can be quickly alerted to those specific fasteners that are either too tight or too loose and attend to them accordingly.
Further accelerating the adoption of smart technologies in manufacturing environments and beyond, the accompanying mobile app will ensure overall management by enabling the real-time monitoring and full traceability of each SMART WASHER unit.
“SMART WASHER is a perfect example of the way in which JPB Système works closely with its customers to understand their exacting manufacturing issues and deliver efficiency-enhancing solutions that directly meet these challenges,” explained Jonathan Beaumel, mechanical design engineer at JPB Système. “We consider SMART WASHER as a game-changing sealing solution that fulfils the needs of aerospace suppliers – as well as other manufacturing industries – particularly those harsh environments where ensuring the correct tightening of bolts is critical. Indeed, it offers huge potential across operations ranging from aircraft and helicopter manufacturing, to key energy sectors like nuclear, as well as the gas and oil industries.”
Building on the JPB Système’s established technological expertise, the development of SMART WASHER has also seen the company draw upon the in-depth knowledge of two leading French laboratories. The French technical centre for mechanical industry, CETIM, supported the development of the solution’s tailor-made strain gauges, while research institute, CEA, was involved in streamlining SMART WASHER’s transmission system.
“SMART WASHER is currently in Beta-testing at one of our customer production plants, and once the product is finalised, the next step will be to design and produce it in all the appropriate bolt sizes,” concluded Beaumel. “This will facilitate its adoption for various applications in an array of different production environments.”
SMART WASHER is expected to be commercially available in Q3/2020.