The news is full of stories about disruptions in the global supply chain that range from microchip shortages slowing automobile production to Christmas toys being stranded on container ships waiting to be unloaded. With the return of domestic air travel reaching pre-pandemic levels, I wondered what long-lasting supply chain issues are having the most impact on aerospace manufacturing. I found some answers in How to survive and revive amid commercial aerospace supplier distress.
I asked for more details from the report’s lead author, Stephane Lagut, posing the question, “What’s emerging as the most critical supply chain challenge in aerospace manufacturing as we look to 2022?”
Lagut, who leads EY global advanced manufacturing & mobility assurance and global aerospace & defense (A&D) sectors replied, “Commercial aero companies have avoided the significant supply disruption we’ve seen impact the automotive and industrial sectors, mostly due to the lower production levels. However, supply chain constraints will hit commercial aerospace as companies begin ramping up production, particularly in narrow-body aircraft. Other challenges include volatile production schedules, labor (vaccine mandates, employee shortage, retention of key talent following deep cuts in 2020), and supplier health, particularly in the lower tiers. These are challenges we’re seeing across the entire advanced manufacturing and mobility industry market.”
Lagut warns of another risk. “Single sourcing is a recurring practice in A&D and is an ongoing bottleneck when disruption hits. There’s a long lead time to source and qualify suppliers to support A&D production.”
Multiple sourcing options significantly minimize the risk of supply disruptions but potentially at a greater unit cost. “It’s worth noting that many aero companies have implemented dual-source programs but with the reduction in build rates in 2020, dual-sourcing wasn’t viable, and many components continue to be single source and may remain single source for some time, given available capacity,” Lagut explains.A&D companies must focus on managing collaboration across a complex supply chain. How is this best done? Lagut says, “Adoption of digital technologies, vertical integration, localization, and even some reshoring appear as the most relevant strategies A&D companies have adopted.”
The EY report cites as a specific concern the ability of suppliers to fund inventory and working capital necessary for airliner production ramp-up.
“In the past, suppliers have built and held inventory to mitigate supply-chain disruption,” Lagut notes. “Again, operational rigor supported by real-time information on customers’ requirements and lead times will allow best-in-class suppliers to minimize working capital.”
Lagut adds success will require collaboration with the original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) for robust demand-forecasting, and clear orders and contracts to enable funders to support the supply-chain’s inventory and capital expenditures (capex) requirements. “The advantage will lie with suppliers who have scale, operational leverage, and access to funding [to make them] resilient partners.” – Eric
CORE D is a 5-axis, optical coordinate measuring machine (CMM) system for measuring small- to medium-sized parts with polished, reflective surfaces and sharp edges, such as turbine blades.
A double-eye sensor ensures good point accessibility and collects reliable data with the light beam axis up to 85° to the surface normal.
The updated CORE D has an automatic cover which closes during the measurement cycle, ensuring perfect optical, thermal, and clean conditions. The unit is shop-hardened, designed to be robot loaded, and occupies a small footprint. It can be calibrated to ISO standards just like a CMM.
Mill for composite material
MonsterMill FRP solid carbide milling cutter features a special diamond coating for machining carbon-fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP), offering optimum process security, cutting quality, and performance.
Fine chip breakers enhance quiet running and component quality. Large grooves safely clear away dust that may develop, permitting an optimal process temperature to prevent damage such as smearing on the cutting edge. The diamond coating ensures long tool life despite the high abrasiveness of carbon-fiber reinforced plastics. The left-hand helix version offers a push cut for reducing delamination on the top side; the right-hand helix offers a pulling cut for reducing delamination on the underside; the version without a helix produces a neutral cut. Four end cutting edges provide the option of pocket milling by means of angled or circular ramping.
Double-column machining center
The MCR-BV double-column machining center (DCMC) for 5-face machining, 5-axis contouring, and 5-sided heavy milling offers precision large-part machining in an expanded work envelope. A high torque, high output integral motor and spindle shorten cycle times. The rigid table, 30% thicker than previous models, withstands high cutting forces and the weight of large workpieces. A broad range of attachment heads are compatible with the machine, allowing creation of numerous part shapes and performing many multitasking machining functions.
Additional features include a fast automatic tool changer (ATC) and a smaller, faster auto attachment changer (AAC) which increase productivity while performing heavy cutting or high-accuracy finishing.
Available models include the MCR-BV 25, MCR-BV 30, and MCR-BV 35.
Promoted by CECIMO, the European Association of Machine Tool Industries, and organized by the operational structures of UCIMU-Sistemi Per Produrre, the Italian machine tools, robots, and automation systems manufacturers’ association, EMO Milano 2021 registered more than 60,000 visitors from 91 countries.
At the conclusion of the event, General Commissioner of EMO Milano 2021 Luigi Galdabini said, “The exhibition data confirm the value of the event, considered as the point of reference for the worldwide manufacturing industry of machine tools, robots, and automation systems.”
Exhibition Director Alfredo Mariotti added, “A very large number of exhibitors have expressed their full satisfaction with the results achieved over these 6 exhibition days [which saw] qualified and very motivated visitors.”
Despite the mobility restrictions still in force, EMO Milano confirmed its international character even on this occasion. Foreign exhibitors accounted for 60% of the total, whereas foreign visitors made up 30% of the overall number. The show also attracted the attention of about 400 accredited journalists, of whom 40% were from abroad.
More than 700 companies exhibited in six halls covering 100,000m2 (>1,000,000ft2) of exhibition area. Focal points included EMO Start-Up, which offered a look at new enterprises working on the development of products and projects related to the world of production systems and metalworking, EMO Digital, and EMO Additive Manufacturing.
Exhibitors and organizers gave more than 80 presentations that were attended in-person and through the live streaming service.
The next edition of EMO Milano will take place in October 2027.
Star SU has named Thomas Giglio as its new general manager for the Tawas Tool operations, with two facilities in East Tawas, Michigan, where the company produces gear cutting tool solutions in addition to tool reconditioning services.
The Performance Review Institute (PRI) has appointed Jay Solomond to executive vice president and COO. Solomond will lead and manage all aspects of PRI, a not-for-profit trade association facilitating collaborative supply chain oversight programs, quality management systems approvals (including Nadcap), and professional development.
MC Machinery Regional Sales Manager for EDM and Milling Steve Brown has expanded his territory to 10 states, including Minnesota, western Wisconsin, Iowa, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Missouri, Kansas, Colorado, and Wyoming. Based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Brown also manages relationships with two Mitsubishi EDM distributors in Wisconsin and Illinois.
Gene Deych has joined MC Machinery as a regional sales representative for lasers, automation equipment, and press brakes. Based in Aurora, Colorado, Deych covers Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, and Southeast Idaho.
Large-scale, industrial metrology equipment producer Brunson Instrument Co., based in Kansas City, Missouri, has selected Chris Klope as president. He brings 20 years of leadership experience to the role, including executive positions growing middle-market manufacturing and industrial distribution companies. Klope succeeds Richard Powell, who is retiring after a 21-year career at Brunson. Powell will continue to serve on the company’s board of directors.
Additive manufacturing powders and energy storage materials producer 6K has appointed Gary Hall as CFO. He joins 6K with more than 20 years of experience leading finance and operational teams at high-growth, technology companies.
Global technology, defense, and engineering group ST Engineering appointed Timothy J. McBride as president of ST Engineering North America Inc., in Alexandria, Virginia. McBride joins the group from Raytheon Technologies, where he was senior vice president of global government relations.
The CEM-E2 multi-material print head for additive manufacturing (AM) can print metal, plastic, and ceramics. Its extruder’s print heads are matched to different material groups. Version M (metals) is for metal-filled materials (MIM pellets); P (plastics) is for filled and unfilled plastics, and C (ceramics) for higher abrasion ceramic-filled materials (CIM pellets). The new extruders/print heads have an improved accuracy of delivery for a higher surface quality and better mechanical properties of the component. Extrusion speed has been increased by more than 200% with manufacturing rates of up to 220cm³/h with a 0.4mm nozzle now possible.
AIM3D is also developing larger pellet 3D printers to manufacture larger parts and achieve even higher build rates.
Micro AM system
Fabrica 2.0, developed by Nano Dimension’s Fabrica Group, is used in micron-level resolution of micro-optics, semiconductors, micro-electronics, micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS), and in making products such as casings for micro-electronics, micro springs, micro actuators, and micro sensors.
The 3D printing system enables miniaturization that allows designers and manufacturers to build complex parts in small, medium, and high volumes.
Based on a digital light processor (DLP) engine, it achieves repeatable micron-level resolution by combining DLP with patented adaptive optics. The Fabrica 2.0 is engineered with an array of sensors allowing a closed feedback loop and uses proprietary materials which can achieve high accuracy while remaining a cost- effective mass-manufacturing solution.
Commercial alumina ceramic
Because of its wide use as a technical ceramic and market demand for parts produced via NanoParticle Jetting (NPJ), XJet now commercially offers alumina.
Delivering high mechanical strength, high hardness, and good electrical insulation, alumina also has high wear resistance, high thermal conductivity, and resistance to high temperatures. Both alumina and zirconia are technical ceramics with very good resistance to chemicals (non-corrosive), are great insulators, and are very hard materials. NPJ allows extremely accurate near-net-shape alumina parts with ultra-fine detail and smooth surfaces.
Essentium polyetherketoneketone (PEKK), made with Arkema 6002 Kepstan resin, is an ultra-polymer offering high heat and chemical resistance along with mechanical strength to meet aerospace and industrial application performance requirements.
PEKK shares most of the performance attributes of polyetheretherketone (PEEK) but has a lower crystallization rate and can be treated as an amorphous polymer; it’s less affected by the cooling process once the part is 3D printed, minimizing warping. PEKK maintains flame, smoke, and toxicity ratings for Federal Aviation Regulations (FAR) compliance while offering improved resistance to chemical attack compared to polyetherimide (PEI) materials. PEKK has an extrusion temperature between 340°C and 400°C.
The new material enables manufacturers to scale and meet requirements of specific applications with tested and certified materials of their choice.