Multi Aircraft Type Shoring System (MATSS)

When a new solution for an aircraft fuselage shoring system was required by a major North American aircraft manufacturer, Support Air turned to HMS Engineering and Drive Lines Technologies for experienced support and knowledge of all things mechanical lifting and fabrication.

The Multi Aircraft Type Shoring System (MATSS) is a modular aircraft fuselage shoring system, designed and supplied by UK-based Support Air. The new system can be used across a range of similar sized aircraft types, at all fuselage station shoring points, utilising a standard base unit in combination with a variety of interchangeable, shoring station specific, cradle support profiles and height extension units.

This modular and flexible shoring system provides a more cost-effective solution than other systems, with greater ease of handling and a smaller storage footprint.

Hadrian Spooner of HMS Engineering, Hereford is a well-known, and very experienced solutions finder. His many years of engineering quick solutions made him the obvious choice for technical expertise and creativity for BBC’s Top Gear, Scrap Heap Challenge and many other TV shows. For this project his team designed a modular lifting frame, with a raising support structure, to meet various heights of aircraft, giving multi-use functionality and flexibility to the system.

Working with the technical engineers at Drive Lines, who have many years of industry experience in Aerospace access and support applications, a quick Screw Jack lifting components solution was modelled. From this, HMS engineering were able to get a build a concept utilising the Drive Lines selected components which would enable a motor-driven and hand-wind solution capable of lifting up to 5000Kg in a compact space. 

A pair of Grob MJ4 Traveling Nut screw jacks were cleverly engineered into the lifting tubes of the support framework. A central motor was coupled to a reliable, high torque Nidec Graessner PowerGear Bevel gearbox, splitting drive to both Jacks via precision R+W Line shafts and couplings.

This mechanical synchronised lift solution is a proven design for Aerospace and heavy load lifting, where controlled and precise movement of a heavy load is required, with the self-locking inherent safety of the worm-gear Screw Jacks offering reliable, creep free movement and support.

The heavy load lifting frame of the MATSS utilised the Drive Lines Combined bearing and U sections steel profiles to provide a safely guided lift of 1000mm and was easy to integrate into the fabrication.

The Motorised Jack system allows for the top of the support frame to be lifted into positon, but stopped short of the aircraft fusalage.  A manual crank handle is then used at the back end of the three-phase motor, to manually position the stand to take the full weight of the aircraft. In order to protect the user, a well thought-out safety lock security cover kills the power to the motor when the drive end is exposed for the crank attachement.

The Modular design of the MATSS enables various cradle and height extension units to be fitted to the one lifting frame to fit a number of aircraft.

Support Air and HMS Engineering were pleased with the operation and perfromance of the Jack system, sighting the quiet operation and smooth controled lift which was well recieved by their client.

Daniel Coughlin, Director of Support Air Ltd, was pleased with the finished product:

 “Creating a solution which has functionality across a range of aircraft types means costs, installation time and storage needs are significantly reduced, which is a huge benefit during aircraft maintenance and repair work. To match the standards required by our client meant the solution had to offer top-end precision and reliability, with significant lifting and manoeuvring power in a compact footprint. The Drive Lines team recommended the best components, bringing those requirements together to create an end-product which meets a range of complex needs effectively. The solution offers smooth, controlled lift and quiet operation, which was well received by our client”