When machine shops decide to break into a new industry, such as aerospace machining, to gain a new source of income, they’ll have to do some research before they can be successful. They’ll most likely need to buy new machining equipment as well. When looking at getting into the aerospace machining industry, here are some facts to remember:
There are different part families that are divided into three groups:
Usually machined from aircraft grade aluminum and titanium, this category includes wing components, spars, door assemblies, brackets and more. Since they range in size, the machines used to build these parts need to have the right table sizes. 3-axis machines are the most common choice for component parts, but some require 4 or 5-axis machines. Horizontal machining centers are preferred by many in this field to minimize cutting time.
This groups includes valves, landing gear, pumps, and more. When creating these parts, precision and quality control are required. This is due to the fact that they are involved with the reliability and control of the aircraft. Machines needed for these are 5-axis and Swiss-style lathes.
These components include all of the stationary and rotating pieces found in the turbine and reciprocating engines. Made from high temperature alloys, they are complex in shape. The machines required are both turning and milling. These parts can also range in size from a few inches to over 10 feet in diameter.
When deciding what type of machine to purchase for aerospace machining, most machine shops choose horizontal machining centers over vertical machining centers. This is because HMCs provide superior chip control, automatic pallet indexing and rotation as part of their basic design. While more expensive than their vertical counterparts, their productivity outweighs expense.
No matter which machine is used, machine shops should keep in mind a few features:
- Spindle horsepower
- Tool changing capacity
- Chip conveyor
- Spindle coolant
- Flood coolant
With so many features to consider when purchasing a new CNC machine for aerospace manufacturing, it’s best to consult a professional. Brooks Associates has served the aerospace machining industry for over 80 years, making them experts on the right machines for the job. They’ll find the perfect machine, as well as offer training and service.