Machine tooling has created a wide range of products from large automotive parts to cellphone accessories to minute screws and toy pieces. Tooling and more specifically, CNC machining services have made it possible to manufacture these products with a high level of precision. These products can be made from different materials, and their applications are expanding more than ever.
One of the industries that are taking advantage of the benefits of CNC machining services is the aerospace industry. Machined parts are used in massive airplanes that carry hundreds of passengers each time.
The Aerospace Industry
The aerospace industry requires high levels of precision on their parts, and only CNC machining can provide high tolerance and top precision-made parts. The aviation industry, a branch of aerospace will not be what it is today if not for CNC machines.
The components made by this manufacturing process are used not only in the engines but also on the outer bodies of commercial jets and aircraft carriers. The engines of aircraft sustain long hours of flight and the machined parts designed with utmost precision plays a vital role in keeping the engines running properly and maximize fuel use. Even the sophisticated cockpit of the airplane with all its controls are made through CNC machining.
Space exploration, which is a subset of the aerospace industry, also depends on CNC machining. The fascination of people in exploring space leads to a race on who will launch the first tour outside of our atmosphere. Along with the science and technology the goes with space exploration, CNC machines play an essential role in manufacturing the critical components of the aircraft both on inside and outside.
The components of a spacecraft and the vehicle itself must be able to sustain themselves for months in space, and the parts should be durable and precisely made. CNC machines can provide these parts with the highest degree of precision.
CNC Machining of Aerospace Parts
For the aircraft or spacecraft to sustain the pressures and stress of flying, they need to have well-machined components. Only CNC machining has a successful record of delivering precision-engineered and innovative parts. There are many state-of-the-art technologies and equipment that are now available for the service providers so that they can offer exceptional CNC machining to the industry.
Some of the applications of CNC machining in the aerospace industry includes manufacturing of parts including instrument panels, ground support equipment, control panels, separation discs, electronic enclosures, and housing and many others.
Materials Used in CNC Machining
Aerospace components require high precision to endure the challenging environments and the high load. The aerospace engineers need to choose materials that have wear resistance, excellent strength, and oxidation properties. These materials must also be heat resistant at a minimum, 1150 degrees centigrade. You cannot find these properties in ordinary steel or alloy.
Here are some of the materials that are tried and tested for use in manufacturing aerospace components.
Stainless Steel – Most of the stainless steel used in manufacturing aerospace parts has high chromium content to improve its oxidation properties and corrosion resistance. It can also resist temperature up to 1150 degrees in centigrade without melting.
Super Alloys – It is usually composed of temperature-resistant alloys like cobalt, iron, and nickel alloys.
Aluminum – Many industries, including aerospace, prefer aluminum because they are lightweight. It is also cheaper than other materials and possesses an excellent heat resistance property. However, this material is not used in components that require higher heat resistance.
Titanium – This material is the most preferred by the industry because of its high strength to weight ratio. To improve its resistance to corrosion, the material is treated with polymers that are reinforced with carbon fibers.
Manufacturing Standards for the Aerospace Industry
Because performance and lives are at stake, every part and components of the aircraft or spacecraft should be appropriately manufactured. The manufacturing process should also be repeatable when needed. And for this reason, CNC machining is the best option. Many companies have honed the use of CNC aerospace machining, but they should also comply with specific standards to maintain their reputation in the industry.
The aerospace industry is vast and covers a lot of processes, including material handling and manufacturing procedures. This is necessary because the equipment is costly, there are high expectations on its performance, and there are safety concerns. All these factors are considered in drawing the stringent technical and product guidelines for the industry.
Aside from certified quality management systems in place, the CNC machining company should also be certified in compliance with the Aerospace Quality Group Industry Controlled Other Party Management System. Quite a mouthful but it covers the manufacturing, assembly, repair and engineering support of electromechanical and mechanical products in aerospace. They are making sure that they adhere to the highest industry and quality standards.
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