The aerospace industry takes in over $88 billion each year, thereby supporting numerous high-paying careers for thousands of American workers. However, those numbers are only possible with the help of a legitimate CNC machine shop that’s capable of large-scale parts production. That’s because making components for such a diligently regulated field requires more than just money and manual labor.
In fact, there are several important aspects associated with large-scale parts production for aerospace clients. The challenges are largely due to the unique requirements that guide designers, engineers, and manufacturing facilities. In the end, everyone wants the most precisely crafted parts on the most convenient schedule. But only certain machine shops can make the cut, and here’s why.
Why does aerospace use such advanced technologies?
Unlike other manufacturing projects, aerospace parts need many advanced technologies to keep up with industry standards and adhere to strict regulations. That’s because of the extreme environmental conditions that most components must endure while in use. All parts have to be lightweight and workable yet resistant to damage, extreme temperatures, and corrosion. So, machinists often utilize sophisticated tools, techniques and equipment to get the job done.
One of the most popular methods is called micro-machining. It involves minuscule operations with precision tools to create delicate, complex geometries on a wide variety of different materials. Techniques such as non-destructive testing and multi-axis turning as also favored for aerospace manufacturing, and that’s because both can help expedite project finishing times without sacrificing quality. Meanwhile, rapid prototyping can assist designers in troubleshooting their parts.
Moreover, aerospace clients generally gravitate toward CNC machine shops that use enhanced programming software such as ProShop ERP. Such measures typically reduce the margin of human error while also streamlining production on all sides. Therefore, the aerospace industry relies heavily on advanced technologies and enhanced machining methods to guarantee precision and timeliness in an innovative sector that promises safety primarily.
What kind of manufacturing do aerospace clients need?
Manufacturing for the aerospace industry is a big responsibility. Not only does it require advanced technologies and state-of-the-art machines but it also calls for well-trained machinists, regulatory guidelines, and a heap of the best materials. Not all CNC machine shops can keep up, and those can still have problems with larger projects.
Therefore, aerospace clients generally have the best luck when working with shops that feature expanded inventories at massive, top-of-the-line facilities. Those facilities must be able to perform a wide range of different operations, from simple manual machining to multi-axis turning and beyond. Here are some prime examples of what the best aerospace manufacturing consists of:
#1. Additive Manufacturing
The aerospace industry wasted no time recognizing the potential of additive manufacturing (AM) for designing and fabricating airplane parts, especially with specialty materials or on components with complex geometries. Most of the time, powder-bed laser printing is preferred over other methods, but electron beam systems are commonly used as well.
DID YOU KNOW: An airplane fuselage is usually made with additive manufacturing to create a durable crisscross pattern.
#2. Laser Beam Welding
This technologically advanced manufacturing method is often utilized for rapid, high-precision projects that can’t be completed with traditional welding techniques. It’s ideal for projects wherein repeatability is required and can be used to join dissimilar materials as well. Meanwhile, this technique ensures that very little material is transferred because of heat.
DID YOU KNOW: CNC machine shops can create working prototypes of parts to determine the best designs and materials.
#3. Composite Materials
Aerospace engineers are big fans of using advanced composite materials because of their enhanced physical characteristics. The additional strength, flexibility, and temperature resistance make them ideal for numerous applications in aircraft manufacturing. Plus, they’re generally lightweight which helps reduce fuel intake and decrease the subsequent emissions.
DID YOU KNOW: The aerospace industry must adhere to strict guidelines from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
#4. Five-Axis Machining
Multi-axis machining is essential to nearly every industry, but it’s crucial to aerospace because of its ability to create intricate parts at record speeds. With more axes, machines and their operators can complete complex orders without stopping for adjustments to the workpieces or tools. That, in turn, helps clients meet tight deadlines without ignoring regulatory standards.
DID YOU KNOW: An incorrectly made aerospace component can get rejected by the regulatory authorities if it doesn’t meet certain standards.
#5. State-of-the-Art Robotics
Automation is becoming a major part of parts manufacturing, even in smaller industries that don’t rely on strict regulations. That’s because robotics help streamlines the manufacturing process while also helping to cut costs for both the customer and the machine shop. Many shops have the equipment but lack the software to run it. So, it’s important for legitimate facilities to have it all.
DID YOU KNOW: Properly programmed robotics can help reduce or eliminate hazardous conditions in the workplace.
Aerospace parts fabrication is a massive responsibility, which means it cannot and should not be handled by ill-equipped facilities. The safety of those using these products is paramount, so don’t cut corners just to save a few bucks or get ahead of schedule. Calculate the total cost of your CNC machining services and then talk to someone at Pioneer Cuts about ways to save money on your next large-scale aerospace project.
Designing and engineering components for the aerospace industry takes ingenuity, innovation, and integration of technologically advanced CNC machining services. Whether you’re a small or large company, working with the right machine shop is essential to churning out parts you can be proud of. So, never settle for second-rate manufacturing even if your orders are complex, massive, or in bulk. There’s always a way to save time and money without sacrificing safety, quality, or deadlines.