Michael Mai, Application Engineer, Bossard Fastening Solutions (Shanghai) Co. Ltd, China

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Never lose perspective

Drones are being used professionally in many ways. They are among others deployed for fire fighting, traffic or environmental surveillance as well as for public safety. Our Chinese customer, EHang Intelligent Technology Co. Ltd, is a major player in this industry. EHang has more than 300 employees and is a globally leading developer and manufacturer of drones. The technology company’s vision is to let people fly free as birds, and it is committed to becoming a global leader in the field of intelligent aerial vehicles. In the near future, the company actually wants to use drones to transport people as well as rescue them from dangerous situations using unmanned vehicles.

Fastening elements used in drones must meet stringent requirements. They must be light and remain tight in spite of vibration or other environmental influences. In addition, it must be possible to produce and install these fasteners as efficiently as possible.

To meet these requirements, Bossard China supported its customer with research and development of a suitable fastening component. This project focused on efficient assembly and disassembly. The component in which the fastener is installed needs to be regularly removed for maintenance and then reattached, but it still needs to remain reliably tight during use. Another important aspect for the customer was simplified design.

The development process between EHang and Bossard was as follows: Bossard completed the initial design within a week. The first prototypes were ready after two weeks. Bossard then worked with the customer to analyze and optimize the assembly and installation process. After another three months of testing and reviewing, the fastener along with the technical drawings and numerous reports was approved and released for production.

Result and customer benefits
The solution developed by Bossard is something that was not available on the market before: A fastener for the camera holder of a specific drone that can be mounted without tools. It has a turning head and a guide that prevents cross threading and cam-out. A roughened surface and a snap lock ensure anti-loosening. Even if the screw comes loose, it cannot fall off. A Phillips or flat-blade screwdriver is all that is needed to tighten and loosen the connection for maintenance, making the fastener especially suitable for industrial assembly. Another advantage of the fastener is that it can be used for other product lines of EHang Intelligent Technology Co. Ltd.

Bossard is continuing to work with EHang following the successful conclusion of the first project. We have already performed initial tests of a 1.4 millimeter microscrew that's just 5 millimeter in length. Initially, a larger screw was used, but the drone's design did not offer enough space. So instead of redesigning entire drone components, Bossard was able to offer customized solutions.

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