Tool Control

Tool Control The most preventable type of FOD By Michelle Garetson February 2001 Your Mother was probably the first one to teach you about Foreign Object Debris (FOD) and tool control through her "Pick up your toys" campaigns. Her...


Tool Control

The most preventable type of FOD

By Michelle Garetson

February 2001

ImageYour Mother was probably the first one to teach you about Foreign Object Debris (FOD) and tool control through her "Pick up your toys" campaigns. Her message targeted organization as well as safety. Well, Mom was right. Organization and safety are two necessary ingredients for successful tool control and FOD prevention programs.
The military was the first to really understand the importance of a thorough tool control program. Slowly and steadily, the civilian sector is accepting these programs as viable and important — primarily from a commerce standpoint — you can’t do business with the military if you don’t adhere to their instructions; but after reviewing the protocol for those tool programs, the merits of such an undertaking are realized.

Necessity is the Mother of Invention
Sears Industrial foam inserts came about as a result of doing business with the military.
"The military has bids that require foam inserts for aircraft maintenance and all kinds of maintenance," explains Joe Spry, Marketing Manager for Sears Industrial. "This is for a few reasons with FOD being the most important. When you have a squadron on alert, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and they’re working around the clock with three shifts, you have to account for every single item that goes into or is taken out of an aircraft. In order to do that, in pre-foam insert days, they had to count and list items by stock number, piece by piece, when they checked in a new mechanic and checked out a new mechanic."
He continues, "Finally one day, someone came up with the idea of foam templates and they were made by hand. Later, these foam templates were requested in bids, through government processes, that they would be available for a particular set of tools."
Spry adds that another use for foam inserts is inventory management. It keeps track of the tool that’s being used. It also allows for specific instructions to be included in nomenclature and function manuals for maintenance, such as "Take the open-end wrench, size X, from the tool set, and adjust the bolt, etc." to aid the technician in step-by-step maintenance.
A tool detection system, the Aeroprobe™ from FOD Technology Group Inc. in Rohnert Park, CA, was invented by a former military aircraft technician who claims he "spent a week one night looking for a tool." As approximately 98 percent of routine hand tools have Ferro magnetic properties, the Aeroprobe uses a highly sensitive gradiometer designed to detect magnetically conditioned tools while ignoring most aircraft structures. This system is not meant for all areas of the aircraft as magnetic detection devices can cause other types of damage to sensitive aircraft components.

Developing tool control programs

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