Client: Navy (NAVAIR Lakehurst)
The chain tie-downs used to secure aircraft to the deck of an aircraft carrier are heavy – nearly 12 lbs a piece. A lighter tie-down design would both reduce the strain on flight crew, as well as make the tie-downs easier to manipulate. Perhaps most importantly, the easier to use tie downs could be operated faster, or by fewer personnel, reducing the amount of manpower required on the flight deck for tie-down operations.
Templeman Automation, in partnership with Peerless Chain Corporation of Winona, MN, has developed the LiteLinx tie-down design, which reduces weight by 52%. While the tensioning devices and hooks have been redesigned, the greatest advantage of the new design is the innovative chain design that takes advantage of modern design and manufacturing techniques. Real world data collected from pull-tests at Peerless' facilities were used to create a new finite element analysis model of chain under tension that incorporates the complex internal variations in material properties encountered in real chain. A new style of chain, dubbed Asymmetric Reduced Elongated Coined (AREC), was developed, that incorporates Peerless' unique experience with asymmetric chain design with a new link geometry developed at TA. Combined with new commercial coating chemistries and Peerless' steel forging expertise, the new chain is 30% lighter than that currently in use with no loss of strength, improved weather resistance, and only marginally increased cost.