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    Today’s aerospace industry is worth billions of dollars and remains one of the most technologically advanced sectors of our rapidly expanding economy. That’s because it’s supported by fully stocked CNC machine shops like Pioneer Cuts – a state-of-the-art machining facility that boasts a robust aerospace inventory and all the certifications needed to complete projects large and small. So, what do the economics of aerospace CNC machining look like, and can they really be affordable? Let’s take a look.

    What is aerospace machining?

    CNC machining for the aerospace industry is difficult and complex, meaning it’s not for the faint of heart. There are numerous industry regulations to follow and many of the parts require micromachining, non-destructive testing (NDT), and/or specific finishing. Thus, most machine shops can’t handle aerospace orders very easily. So, that leaves much to be completed by only a handful of experts.

    Therefore, the experts who can handle aerospace projects typically specialize in manufacturing those parts, components, and products to suit the industry’s unique needs. They’re also equipped with the most common materials and understand best practices regarding certain processes. To complete an order anywhere besides a facility dedicated to aerospace CNC machining could be a costly mistake.

    DID YOU KNOW: A well-trained CNC expert can even guide clients during the design and development phases of production.

    What are the 5 factors that affect the cost of aerospace CNC machining?

    Truth be told, no CNC machining project is ever cheap. But the costs can increase quite a bit when you start talking about manufacturing for aerospace. Most likely, that’s because of the processes and materials required to properly finish these orders with precision. Meanwhile, here are some of the other factors that often affect the overall cost of aerospace CNC machining:

    #1. The Design Geometries

    The aerospace sector demands accuracy and speed. However, complex geometries typically cost more to produce because they use industry-leading tools and high-tech machines to get the job done. Not only that, but most aerospace projects require consistent precision at all times to adhere to strict manufacturing regulations. So, the machine shop responsible for each order must monitor production closely through every single stage.

    #2. The Materials Required

    While modern aerospace projects need sound machining technologies to even exist, they also require top-notch materials that are endorsed by the industry overseers yet easy enough for skilled experts to the machine. Sometimes, that calls for a clever combination of creativity and technique, or at the very least specialized materials reserved primarily for these kinds of jobs. A shop with an expanded aerospace inventory will undoubtedly have what it takes.

    #3. The Prototyping Process

    Most aerospace projects start out as a prototype. This gives all members of a team the chance to reconsider, redesign, and regroup before mass production. Skipping this step may save money upfront but it will almost always cost you in the long run. That’s because rapid prototyping helps reduce the price of CNC aerospace machining by decreasing waste, shortening lead times, and catching problems before it’s too late.

    #4. The Metal Finish

    Did you know that certain manufactured aerospace parts must feature a specific finish to satisfy production guidelines? In other words, they can’t all come hot off the press and be packaged for mass distribution. At the same time, some metal finishes require more complex techniques than others. So, the overall cost of machining may fluctuate as a result. Proactive project managers should always add this consideration into their price estimate.

    #5. The Facility Capabilities

    Not all CNC machine shops can handle large-scale aerospace production because they either lack the manpower, the machines, or the space in their facility. Plus, many don’t have the correct materials nor are they certified to produce precision parts for such a highly regulated industry. However, expanded spaces can be used to fulfill massive manufacturing orders, including those that require numerous processes and/or expedited finishing.

    Aerospace manufacturing can be expensive, but every price has a purpose and there are a few ways to cut costs without sacrificing quality. In fact, it’s all worked into the economics of CNC aerospace machining when you work with a reputable company like Pioneer Cuts.

    How to cut costs on aerospace CNC machining

    Reducing the price you pay for high-quality CNC machining isn’t nearly as hard as you think. Machinist and engineering experts not only work together to streamline each project but they also provide helpful hints on how to cut costs even more. Here are the top three tips to get started:

    Tip # 1: Get a project quote.

    Project managers shouldn’t have to wait around just to get a good idea about how much their order will cost. So, the most economical thing to do is get the quickest and most accurate quotes possible. However, that’s generally only possible through facilities that use ProShop ERP software to calculate specifics.

    Tip #2: Make a prototype.

    While prototyping a part that’s been made many times may seem counterproductive, it’s actually not. This is the perfect opportunity to redesign certain elements or consider new approaches to the same design. In some cases, project managers may even save money through updated processes and/or more workable materials.

    Tip #3: Communicate clearly.

    When everyone is on the same page, it’s much easier to catch mistakes and avoid costly accidents while manufacturing aerospace parts. So, always keep an open line of communication with your team from start to finish. Let the machinists know your concerns and work with them to figure out the best plan for each project.
    For more information on how to reduce the cost of CNC aerospace machining projects even further, contact an expert at Pioneer Cuts as soon as possible for more detailed and customized tips.

    The economics of CNC machining for aerospace

    Economical aerospace machining requires the help of a well-established machine shop, for one. For two, you must choose the most appropriate materials while also adhering to strict industry regulations and tight schedules. Fast lead times, rapid prototyping services, precision machinery, and powerful tools are all necessary. But excellent communication and a fast 6-hour quote don’t hurt.

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