Spirit AeroSystems is transitioning recent research breakthroughs from the laboratory to its factory. The Joule Form process, which Spirit developed, is a new proprietary method for forming titanium raw material at elevated temperatures in the fabrication of aerospace components.
To minimize the cost and quality challenges associated with titanium forging and machining, the Joule Form process directs energy only where it is needed, decreasing the cost of machined parts while reducing the company’s carbon footprint.
The Joule Form process allows Spirit to form parts out of titanium plates rather than relying on machining large blocks of titanium. This significantly reduces waste and decreases the amount of machining. The process was internally developed as part of one of Spirit's key research focus areas, the Lean Metallic Structures Distinctive Capability.
"We are the first in the aerospace industry to use this high-tech solution. The implementation of the Joule Form process allows for more advanced production of titanium parts, such as those on Spirit's propulsion, fuselage, and wing products," said Spirit AeroSystems Senior Vice President and Chief Technology and Quality Officer John Pilla. "This approach offers a host of benefits that ultimately reduce costs and drive greater efficiencies."
"This emerging manufacturing improvement can replace more expensive techniques," said Kevin Matthies, Spirit's senior vice president of Global Fabrication. "We want to build high-quality products in a cost-effective way. This is a great example of improving a process to better serve our customers."