MCH-100-HM Hot Melt Tool started with a customer need

MCH-100-HM HOT MELT TOOL

Customer

U.S. Government Contractors

Partner(s)

J & J technologies, ESICO, Antech

Applications

Curing Composites, Hot Melt Smoothing

Industries

Aerospace, Airline, Aviation

CHALLENGE:

To design a tool for use on composite outer skin on aircraft for smoothing hot melt plugs into voids on the surface;  powered by the same 48 VDC power supply used by the MCH-100-A heat gun power supply and have adjustable temperatures with a digital readout of the set and actual temperatures. 

SOLUTION:

We began the process by contacting our suppliers about the project to see if they would be able to provide the needed COTS components, including the heating element, thermocouple and control system to build the tool with.  The response was positive and we proceeded purchasing the needed components and within a few weeks assembled the first tool and called it the MCH-100-HM tool, HM for Hot Melt.  After tests were completed we presented the prototype to our customer who was receptive and interested in what we had to offer and so we pursued further development and refinement.

Within months our customer released a solicitation (RFQ) for the tool which we responded to. The RFQ was in the form of source control drawings which detailing the customers specifications and requirements of the tool. The drawings called for very precise temperature controls (+- 15 degrees at the tip) including a digital readout of the set and actual temperatures. Before we responded to the solicitation we sourced additional COTS temperature and power controllers that would work on 48 VDC power.  We assembled a second prototype and conducted additional tests which proved successful. We then proceeded to partner with a machine shop to machine the hardware components needed to meet the requirements and finished the prototype.

The MCH-100-HM tool was made with nearly all COTS components, with the exception of the machined parts associated with the handle and control box, that were then assembled into the finished tool and tested.  With positive test results in hand we felt confident that we could deliver what our customer was looking for and responded to the solicitation and were eventually awarded the contract.

In the end what we had accomplished was using tools and components that were already available in the commercial marketplace and configured them in a way that met the requirements of our customer.  This resulted in very low development costs and delivery of the product to our customer in less than one year.

The solicitation required that the tool pass all the same military standards of the MCH-100-A tool including explosive atmosphere, drop test, rain intrusion, EMI, salt fog and more. The tool was designed to these requirements and passed all of the tests performed.

What we ended up developing is the Malcom portable battery powered Hot Melt Tool that is not only used commercially for the original customer for hot melt plugs but can be used in other applications such as soldering and shrinking applications in the commercial marketplace that require precise temperature control.