07/10/2024 The Evolution and Impact of Click-Loc Self-Locking Technology


Safety, reliability, and efficiency are paramount across industries like aviation, aerospace, and power generation. For decades, one perpetual issue plagued these sectors – the tedious and error-prone use of lockwire to secure critical hardware. In the early 1990s, Moeller Aerospace pioneered a game-changing solution called Click-Loc to transform secondary locking capabilities. This blog explores the invention, rapid evolution, and industry-wide adoption of this revolutionary self-locking technology.

The Antiquated Lockwire Method

For decades, safety wire (often called lockwire or locking-wire) has been the standard method for securing critical fasteners and hardware on aircraft. This involves strategically winding thin, flexible wire around bolts, nuts, and components to prevent loosening from vibration, temperature changes, and mechanical stresses during operation.

However, lockwire can become brittle and break off, causing component back off and risk of Foreign Object Damage (FOD). In addition, the lockwire process has significant drawbacks. It is extremely tedious, time-consuming, and prone to human error during the intricate wiring procedures. Frequent inspections are required to ensure lockwire remains secured over time. Despite its widespread use, the lockwire method increases maintenance downtime and long-term costs.

The Birth of a Solution

In 1991, the Click-Loc concept was generated in response to a Pratt & Whitney/US Air Force requirement for self-locking fluid fittings to replace lockwire on the F119 engine. One year later, Moeller Aerospace invented the Click-Loc self-locking fittings, borescope plugs, fasteners, and fluid fitting retrofit designs.

The initial innovations were quickly adopted, with the first Click-Loc self-locking borescope plugs sourced for the GE90 fuel nozzle/manifold in 1992. Self-locking fastener design and self-locking fluid fitting retrofit design were invented as well. Over the next few years, the technology expanded to drain plugs, turnbuckles, engine mounts, and more across major platforms like the Boeing 777, Lockheed F-22, and Rolls-Royce engines.

Click-Loc technology was developed to address the limitations of safety wire by providing a robust, reliable, and reusable locking solution. Unlike safety wire, Click-Loc products offer a 100% positive locking mechanism that will never loosen, even under the most demanding conditions. Tested to withstand hundreds of assembly and disassembly cycles without failure, Click-Loc has set a new standard for safety and efficiency in aerospace applications.

Rapid Expansion Across Industries

Throughout the late 1990s and 2000s, the performance and cost-saving benefits of Click-Loc® generated skyrocketing demand. The U.S. Air Force, Army, and other military branches replaced lockwire with the self-locking solutions on critical aircraft, vehicles, and weapon systems.

The technology saw widespread use on engines like the GE F110, EJ200, F135, GE38, and PW1000G. In the 2010s, major manufacturers like Lockheed Martin implemented self-locking fasteners on the F-35 and Blue Origin utilized self-locking plugs. In 1995, a U.S. Air Force contract was issued for Click-Loc® self-locking fluid fitting retrofit of F110-100 engines to address leaking fluid fittings. By 1999, Click-Loc® self-locking borescope plugs were sourced by Rolls Royce for EJ200 engines, expanding its reach into new engine platforms. In 2002, the U.S. Army selected Click-Loc® self-locking fluid fittings for the Crusader Cannon cooling system, validating its effectiveness in critical applications. In 2013, Click-Loc® self-locking fastening system was sourced by Lockheed Martin to replace lockwire in an ergonomically difficult location on the F-35 weapons pylons.

Moeller continued innovating new designs like drop-in plug replacements for the GE9X engine and self-locking fluid fittings for GE Power’s LM2500 industrial turbine. Most recently in 2021, Pratt & Whitney signed a 10-year agreement for Click-Loc borescope plugs on the GTF engine family.

Industry Recognition and Adoption

As word spread about this pioneering technology, Click-Loc gained rapid traction across aviation, aerospace, military, maritime, automotive, and industrial sectors. Major manufacturers like Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and Rolls-Royce rapidly implemented self-locking solutions.

Today, a plethora of Click-Loc devices are installed worldwide, fundamentally changing how industries approach secondary locking. With continuous product development, this self-locking technology will continue to evolve, driven by Moeller’s commitment to optimizing safety, efficiency, and cost savings for their customers.

A Company of Firsts

Moeller’s expertise in machining, grinding, EDM, and specialty processes laid the foundation for pioneering self-locking solutions like Click-Loc. Established in 1949, Moeller has over 70 years of leadership in supplying precision components.

In 2016, the company was acquired by AE Industrial Partners to further innovate across aerospace, defense, industrial and energy sectors. Fueled by a legacy of firsts, Moeller continues transforming maintenance with simple yet superior locking solutions.

What began as an inventive alternative to lockwire has grown into a game-changing, self-locking ecosystem tailored for the world’s most demanding applications and environments. The Click-Loc legacy endures, driven by cutting-edge engineering to simplify maintenance, mitigate risk, and reduce costs across industries. Now Click-Loc has been the leader in reliable self-locking technology in the market with over 25 years of service and zero reported failures in the field.

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