Managing manufacturing processes through thoughtful, informed leadership is at the core of how small- and medium-size enterprises can leverage transformation in the aerospace supply chain. That was the theme of the recent Pacific Northwest Aerospace Alliance (PNAA) annual commercial aerospace conference.
Numerous speakers throughout the three-day event discussed topics familiar to our readers: Industry 4.0, digitalization, and data analytics. As PNAA Chairman Ted Croft noted in his welcome, “Key enablers of this transformation require the integration of aerospace technologies with products and services commonly associated with the information technology (IT) sector.”
This can be daunting for contract manufacturers without large IT departments, but experts offered practical guidance and success stories showing smaller companies benefiting from transformation.
Management consulting firm McKinsey and Co. Engagement Manager Charles Cassidy argued the information-driven fourth industrial revolution is not going away. “Embrace Industry 4.0 or be left behind.” Beyond the stark warning, Cassidy offered numbers on how Industry 4.0 – also called digital manufacturing or the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) – is driving value. He gave examples of product design and development taking 20% to 50% less time to market, 85% better forecasts of supply chain capabilities, and 10% to 20% reduction in costs associated with ensuring manufacturing quality.
The return on investment is persuasive, but many companies have difficulty scaling-up pilot programs to capture the full value of innovative technology. Cassidy and Kevin Goering, McKinsey associate partner, summarized an action plan with three questions to ask: Is the digital strategy driven by measurable business needs (and not because it is exciting)? Do you understand your organization’s digital capabilities and have a plan to fill any gaps? And, do you have the technology to scale-up, such as having the machines, automation, quality assurance, and distribution capabilities to take advantage of Industry 4.0 productivity improvements? Faster production is squandered if finished parts stack up in the shipping department.
In a presentation titled “Rewarding Courage,” Ignacio González-Blanch Fernández, executive director of Airgrup S.L., explained how a 75-year-old manufacturing company became 100% digital. Seville, Spain-based Airgrup, which makes pipes and tubes for aerospace hydraulics, transformed using digital workflows and advanced analytics. Fernández can boast that his company has reduced paperwork to one page per part, from raw materials to finished goods, despite generating 2 million data points per day.
“I can trace a part’s status at desk level throughout the company,” Fernández reported, noting 8,000 SKUs can be tracked in 2,500 possible routings through 100 workstations.
To implement the plan, Fernández took small steps as his team built a layer of the business’ logic into a web-based enterprise management database. By customizing dashboards at each workstation and – ironically – limiting indicators and leaving most data for later analysis, he was able to win over people wedded to paper spreadsheets. The rewards: understanding defects/non-quality sources, easier identification of bottlenecks and ways to reduce costs, and sustained higher performance. Convinced of the benefits, Fernández is constantly looking for opportunities to go digital, capitalizing on data to differentiate his company from the competition. His example demonstrates how embracing Industry 4.0 isn’t only for big companies. – Eric
The profitability of working on heat-resistant
Thanks to technological advances, from the machine tool down to the cutting tool, more machining operations can benefit despite the challenging nature of aerospace work.
1) What are the most common aerospace machining challenges?
BV: The geometric nature of aerospace parts makes them among the most difficult to machine due to variables such as temperature, tool life, chip evacuation, part access, and machine maintenance.
Add to that pressure to deliver products faster, at a lower cost and in small lot sizes, and more manufacturers are searching for ways to make processes more efficient.
2) How are machine tool manufacturers addressing the challenge of cutting difficult shapes?
BV: Cutting curves with straight tools is difficult. The advent of simultaneous part and spindle movement, and swivel and linear axis combinations makes it much easier; swivel ranges up to 225° in the A-axis and 360° in the B-axis, along with retractable (tunnel) spindles, allow for full access to the work area, the entire length of the tool, and every non-fixture feature of the part. Workholding offerings have advanced, too, namely bridges, reductions, extensions, and even chucks that can pivot.
3) How can machine shops increase production for small lot sizes?
BV: In high-mix, low-volume manufacturing, efficiency in
Space-efficient tooling magazines can be integrated into machinery in a variety of configurations as
Since the table of the G550T can rotate up to 800rpm, some machining steps can be executed as turning operations in addition to milling.
4) How do you control heat buildup on the cutter or part that can lead to scrapping expensive material?
BV: Overhead machining – flipping the part upside down – takes advantage of gravity to remove chips.
The latest cutting tool geometries and coatings allow cutters to retain the sharp edges needed to shear the strongest materials, forming chips that absorb heat, flow cleanly up flutes, and leave the cut without consequence.
Chip disposal by a scraper-type conveyor at the base of the machine dissipates heat in the work area and keeps it from transferring into the machine’s structure.
5) Do these added features make machine maintenance more difficult?
BV: Maintenance of these machines is much easier than it once was, with easily accessed components and integrated chip removal and coolant systems. What’s more, tool cleaning devices loaded into the tool magazine can brush or air-clean conical and flat surfaces of the tool interface to fully enable unmanned machining.
The FlexFrame 5hp face-mounted speed reducer can be used with International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) or National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) motors. This allows users to quickly switch or replace motors; interchange IEC and NEMA motors for export applications; add
With aluminum housings, FlexFrame units are up to 50% lighter with a small profile, creating a good weight-to-torque ratio (power density). They can be used in cantilevered and over-center designs where heavier gearheads are not feasible.Gearing Solutions
Lightweight surface-mount capacitors
The space-qualified ESCC QPL 3009 series X7R multi-layer ceramic surface-mount capacitors add 200V PME MLCCs in 0805–2220 case sizes. Compact, lightweight, and available with capacitance values of 330pF to 330nF, the capacitors deliver performance improvements compared to 200V MIL-PRF stacked ceramic capacitors and 100V MIL-PRF surface mount products in 100V circuits when space derating rules are applied. This provides effective, high-reliability solutions for space and military applications,
Tested to the European Space Components Coordination’s (ESCC’s) 3009 standard, the ESCC QPL 3009 PME series delivers
Robot controller power supply
The 240W output ZWS240RC-24 AC-DC power supply is an addition to the ZWS series of 10W to 300W industrial power supplies. Certification to
The ZWS240RC-24 accepts an 85VAC to 265VAC input and can operate convection cooled
Typical hold-up times are 31ms, protecting against extended input voltage dips.
The model is also compliant to EN 55011, EN 55032 Class B conducted and Class A radiated emissions, EN 61000-3-2 harmonics, and IEC 61000-4 immunity standards.TDK-Lambda Americas
Spring engaged, power-off brake
The 1" electromagnetic spring engaged, power-off (SEB) brake for aerospace/ defense is suitable for small actuators and the limited space and difficult performance requirements of missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). The SEBs can withstand extreme temperatures as well as high levels of vibration and shocks.Sepac Inc.
Motorized positioning stages
The AQ110 high precision series of low-cost, low-profile, motorized single-axis positioning stages includes four cross roller linear stages with travel lengths of 15mm (0.590"), 30mm (1.181"), 50mm (1.968"), and 75mm (2.952"). Open loop repeatability of all stages is 0.5µm using a 10 micro-steps-per-step step motor driver or 0.25µm using a 20 micro-steps-per-step step motor driver. Precision ground lead screws with 2µm of backlash and high precision cross roller linear travel guides assure repeatability of
Each table has a pattern of 16 threaded mounting holes for the addition of custom tooling, and the base has drilled and countersunk holes for easy integration into new and existing applications.Optimal Engineering Systems Inc.
High speed camera
The Phantom v2640 features a 4-megapixel (Mpx) CMOS image sensor (2,048 x 1,952) that delivers image quality up to 26Gpx/second – while reaching 6,600 frames per second (fps) at full 2,048 x 1,952 resolution and 11,750fps at 1,920 x 1,080.
The v2640 features high dynamic range (64dB) and a low noise floor making it suitable to capture clean, high-resolution images at ultra-high speeds. Its high dynamic range shows significant detail while the low noise is beneficial when analyzing the dark regions of an image.
Multiple operating modes offer increased flexibility. Standard mode uses correlated double sampling for the clearest image, while high-speed (HS) mode provides 34% higher throughput to achieve 6,600fps. Monochrome cameras can incorporate binning, which converts the v2640 into a 1Mpx camera that can reach 25,030fps at full resolution, with high sensitivity.Vision Research Inc.
Flight test memory cartridge docking station
To reduce flight test data download times, the RMSR-2006 Rack-Mounted Fibre Channel Data Playback Unit simultaneously supports up to six 256GB TTC media storage cartridges (MSC). This represents a 3x improvement in MSC capacity and a 4x increase in download speed.
The RMSR-2006 also supports hot swap. TTC Media Manager enables the user to access, copy, delete, and declassify data on the installed media cartridges. The user can individually address and control any of the media cartridges within the unit.
Flight test system solutions and MSC data cartridges are used in numerous U.S. Air Force aircraft, including the F-35, F-22, and B2.Curtiss-Wright Corp.
Servo drive system
The Sinamics S210 converter for
Integrated safety functions include safe torque off (STO) and safe stop 1 (SS1). In conjunction with the rapid sampling and smart control algorithms of the Sinamics S210, a high-grade encoder system on the Simotics 1FK2 motor, combined with low rotor inertia and high overload capability, permit dynamic performance and precision.
Simotics 1FK2 motors connect to the converters using a 9mm one cable connection (OCC), which includes the power conductors, encoder signal, and brake.Siemens Industry Inc.
Eriez metalworking’s demo truck with a 24ft equipment showroom is
The truck houses many of Eriez’ magnetic and vibratory material handling products as well as equipment from the company’s HydroFlow fluid recycling and fluid filtration lines. Demonstrations and workshops help participants find economical, effective solutions to material handling, fluid recycling, and filtration challenges – in their own parking lots.
An interactive learning center allows team members to customize drawings and fulfill customer requests. An
The demo truck has logged more than 130,000 miles since its 2014 debut, visiting 41 states and four Canadian provinces. Approximately 3,500 participants have climbed aboard during the truck’s more than 1,000 visits.
Solar Atmospheres of California completes facility expansion
Solar Atmospheres of California (SCA) has expanded its facility, doubling heat-treating capacity on the West Coast. Project expansion at the Fontana, California, facility began in July 2016 with
Vacuum heat-treating equipment includes a high-pressure vacuum gas carburizing furnace with 3ft x 3ft x 4ft hot zone and 7,000 lb max. load capacity and a similar furnace with 4ft x 4ft x 6ft/15,000 lb capacity.
Another furnace offers an all-moly hot zone and external gas quench system for optimized sustained high-vacuum processing of sensitive materials. The long, horizontal car-bottom furnace offers a hot zone capacity of 8ft x 8ft x 24ft/150,000 lb. www.solaratm.com
CGTech celebrates 30 years
Irvine, California-headquartered CGTech, developer of Vericut software, is celebrating three decades in business.
Vericut software was one of the first widely available methods to test NC machine tool paths in an off-line virtual- reality environment by simulating material removal using a three-dimensional solid model.
Enhancements support complex multi-axis kinematics, reduce machine tool cycle times, increase tool life, and simulate additive capabilities of hybrid CNC machines. CGTech also develops software for companies using automated composite machinery, along with drilling and fastening machines used for airframe assembly. www.cgtech.com