Low Profile Fastener for Helicopter Maintenance Tool Control (Case Study)Product
"...the quality and durability have proven to be what I hoped for. The finished look and secure latching to the rungs
made the decision making pretty easy and the fact that the snap locks were self-retained in the base material was a big plus."
HeliLadder™ - Blue Moon Designs
The HeliLadder™ was conceived and designed by Dale Neubauer, a thirty year veteran of helicopter and airplane maintenance whose in depth understanding of aircrafts and the challenges of field maintenance provided an insight and expertise to design details that other ladder manufacturers lacked.
His company, Blue Moon Designs, was founded in Bend, Oregon in 2000 by helicopter technicians whose hands-on experience helped them design tools and ground support equipment that meet the real-world demands of the helicopter maintenance environment. They offer a unique assortment of helicopter tooling and ground support products as well as the ability to create custom designs quickly and affordably.
The HeliLadder™ is one of their revolutionary new products, providing a portable, stable, and safe multi-level maintenance Ladder-Stand so that technicians can “focus on their work, not their balance.”
HeliLadder™ is a new concept in aircraft work stands designed specifically for helicopter maintenance operations as an alternative and all-around safer solution to the unstable and inherently dangerous commercial ladders currently being used in the industry. This hybrid product has the same portability as a ladder, but with the large steps, safety handrails, and high stability of a work stand. The cantilevered design offers unparalleled access to the rotor head and blades and has zero offset from the upper airframe components – making it completely OSHA compliant in both its design and usage. An additional feature to the HeliLadder™ is fixed side rail tool trays and removable rung trays, providing tool control and added safety for technicians as they work.
Blue Moon Designs was looking for a new solution that would securely latch the tool tray to the ladder rung. Previously, they utilized shoulder bolts that would slip into the key-hole slots – providing a marginal level of tool tray retention. The design engineer began researching an alternate fastening solution that was low-profile, durable, and relatively easy to manipulate and found DIRAK’s DST captive flex-fastener.
Each HeliLadder™ has two tool trays in the top two rungs and uses two captive fasteners per tray. DIRAK was immediately able to provide samples for field testing and received positive feedback from the engineers who were impressed that, “The snaps worked as advertised!” The captive fastener was exactly what Blue Moon Designs was looking for to help with tool control on their HeliLadder™ and to support their high standards for safety during maintenance operations. “So far, I’ve had no reports of failures, so the quality and durability have proven to be what I hoped for. The finished look and secure latching to the rungs made the decision making pretty easy and the fact that the snap locks were self-retained in the base material was a big plus.” said Neubauer on DIRAK’s DST captive flex-fastener.