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TCTool Consortium Delivers Preliminary Design Review

Tue, 30 June, 2020

The TCTool project partners have recently delivered a successful Preliminary Design Review related to the development and industrialisation of thermoplastic fuselage components.

The preliminary designs included an adaptive assembly tool for the fuselage skin, the welding process for the stringers to the skin, an end-effector to pick-and-place the fuselage’s clips, and finally an end-effector to conduct short thermoplastic welds for fuselage components.

The TWI-coordinated project is funded as part of the Clean Sky initiative under grant agreement number 865131. The collaborative consortium also includes topic manager GKN Fokker, Brunel University London, London South Bank University, Acroflight Ltd and FADA-CATEC.

About TCTool

The project aims to develop innovative tooling, end effector development and industrialisation for the welding and assembly of thermoplastic fuselage components. This involves finding new approaches to tooling and automation in order to eliminate or reduce fixed tooling costs, which can make up over one-third of non-recurring costs in aircraft assembly.

The use of thermoplastic composites in passenger aircraft would aid lightweighting as compared to the thermoset composites and metals that are currently in use. However, the key advantage of thermoplastics is that they can be joined using welding processes, potentially meaning that there is no need for the many thousands of fasteners used in aircraft assembly, which would improve reliability and lower manufacturing costs. If you want to know more about the project visit the website or follow us on LinkedIn




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