making tooling simple™

Design, Build, and Modify Tooling in Half the Time

A unique, patented technology that offers 80% reduction in hard tooling costs, 50% reduction in lead times, and significant reduction in tooling modification costs and project delays.

What is BoxJoint™?

In the automotive and aerospace industries, assembly jigs are large, custom, permanent structures that are costly to both design and build. Assembly jigs are usually one of the largest non-reoccurring costs at the start of a manufacturing project. Manufacturers are under increasing pressure to reduce non-reoccurring costs, reduce time-to-market of products, and improve the capacity and utilization of their tooling. The BoxJoint system is an arrangement of beams and joints, which together forms a framework. There are no welds between the connecting pieces in the system, instead the parts are fixed together using the force of friction. Harcourt HBOX™ units are used to join standard beams to form the framework of the jig. The framework is set to a loose tolerance facilitating a quick assembly process and the use of standard low cost beams. The final accurate interface between the jig and the component is achieved through adjustable HFLAG™ and HSHIMBOX™ units. Throughout the jig build process, laser metrology is used to quickly measure and adjust the position of the jig beams, HSHIMBOXs, and HFLAGs.

Major Components


HBOX™ creates a structure fast by utilizing off-the-shelf aluminum, steel, or carbon fiber beams joined with plates and bolts. Bolts are pulled to a high torque to give a rigid friction joint, equal in stiffness to a weld. HBOX™ eliminates welding and stress reliving on jig frames.


HFLAG™ is a 6 DOF (degrees of freedom) index that is manually adjusted then locked when the desired location is reached. Standard end-effectors are available for clamps, rest pads, round (4 way), and slotted (2 way) bushings. HFLAG™ eliminates expensive, custom-made risers, locators, shims, etc.


HSHIMBOX™ technology enables users to integrate drill jigs, header-boards and other high tolerance, fixed tooling into a BoxJoint™ environment. A trained operator can set a HSHIMBOX™ into a new position within a few minutes.

BoxJoint History

BoxJoint is a system invented by Henrik KIHLMAN of ProdTex AB Sweden. The first drafts of the concept were made with Saab, Linkoping, Sweden, in about the year 2000. After sucess with SAAB on the Neruon UAV project, Prodtex continued to develop the system with Linkoping University, Airbus UK, BAE Systems, Leica Geosystems.

Peter HELGOSSON with Prodtex Limited in the UK has spearheaded BoxJoint development in the UK. Airbus Operations Ltd. In Filton, UK built their first BoxJoint fixture in the beginning of 2009 in a project called ReFlex (Reconfigurable & Flexible Tooling). The fixture was first designed to be an assembly fixture for a section of a carbon fiber Wing Box.

Harcourt has partnered with Prodtex to continue the development of BoxJoint as a commercially available tooling solution.

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