Why The Change Of Focus Of Aerospace Industries To CNC Machining

Different classes of materials are suitable for making parts used in the aerospace industries. Parts used for aerospace machines have a huge requirement.

Aside from the inherent properties of the material used in making them e.g., strength, durability, and lightweight, highly precise manufacturing processes must be used in their manufacture. 

There are many manufacturing processes used in making such parts. However, CNC machining stands out due to its high precision and accuracy.

Consequently, there is a change in focus of aerospace industries to CNC machining and high use of CNC parts in making aerospace machines.

High precision and accuracy are not the only reasons for the change in focus, and this article introduces several reasons that called for the switch of attention to CNC machining in aerospace industries.

Why Does CNC Machining Matter In The Aerospace Industry?

The importance of CNC machining in the aerospace industry will be discussed under two broad categories.

The first category is based on the view of aerospace industries, while the second category will be based on the view of CNC machining  

From The View of Aerospace Industry

Not all kinds of materials and products are suitable for making parts used in aerospace industries, as such materials must meet up to certain standards.

Below are a few things to note about the aerospace industry and why they shifted to CNC machining. 

Tight Requirements for Aerospace Industries

Materials suitable for making products and parts of aviation industries must be of top quality with high performance and durability.

Aside from that, such material requires tolerance and a high level of precision and accuracy.

This is where CNC machining comes in as it is one of the most used manufacturing processes in various industries.

Features Of Aerospace Products 

As said before, aerospace products must have certain properties that make them highly suitable for the industry.

These attributes are responsible for the change in focus of the industries to the use of CNC machined parts.

Below are the features of aerospace products: 

Lightweight

Aerospace products must be lightweight. Whether plastics or metals, their lightweight might indicate softness which makes CNC machining a very good option for making them. 

Precision and Accuracy

CNC machining is arguably the most precise and accurate manufacturing process you can use.

As aerospace products must be highly precise and accurate to reduce error in product making which might lead to risk, CNC machining is the perfect option.

The process involves the use of computers, which limits human interference and reduces the margin of errors. 

Durability

This does not contribute directly to the use of CNC machining by aerospace industries. However, aerospace products must be highly durable.

Examples of such materials are titanium, aluminum, and some hard polymer plastics. Their use will ensure that they serve you for a long time. 

High performance and efficiency

Aerospace products made from titanium and other materials are high-performance metals. They are difficult to process by other means making CNC machining the perfect option. 

From The View of CNC Machining

What makes CNC products ideal for the aerospace industry? What are the features of the CNC machining process that makes it suitable for aerospace industries?

Understanding the answers to these questions will further show you why the aerospace industry is now considering using precision CNC machining services for making parts used in their machines.

Shorten Product Development Cycle     

CNC machining has a fast production process, unlike other manufacturing processes such as 3D printing and injection molding.

Also, tooling is minimal. Therefore, after making the CAD model, the computer takes charge of the manufacturing process.

A Shortened product development cycle ensures that the aerospace industry can order and receive products in a short amount of time. 

High Precision

CNC machines have a very low margin of error. Therefore, the final products are precise, i.e., alike in terms of dimension, size, etc., and accurate, i.e., similar to the intended design in terms of dimension, size.

Machinability (titanium)

Titanium is an important material used in aerospace industries due to its durability and lightweight.

Although it is highly durable, strong, and resistant to abrasion and heat, machining is very difficult, not possible. Therefore, this metal requires some level of expertise. 

Before most precision CNC machining services work with titanium, they map out the whole machining process to the last detail in terms of tools and technology.

This will allow them to deliver in terms of quality. 

Application of CNC Machining in The Aerospace Industry

The aerospace industry comprises different types of aircraft and technologies aimed at transportation and research.

CNC machining has a huge application in the aerospace industry due to its features not being available in other prototyping methods, like 3D printing.

Below are a few applications of CNC machining: 

  • Complex design fabrication

Some aerospace parts are very complex. For example, NASA’s Orion bulkhead developed to ensure safety has a dome structure and pockets normally to its surface. Making these components requires extremely tight tolerances. Therefore, CNC machining is the ideal process. For example, 5-axis CNC milling machines are suitable machines for making complex parts used in the aerospace industry. These machines are suitable as they can reach angles not feasible for 3- or 4-axis machines.

  • Lightweight Metal Components

Metals such as aluminum and titanium have huge strength and durability, and they dominate the aerospace industry due to their lightweight. This is because their use reduces fuel consumption while boosting aircrafts’ overall performance. 

Machining these metals is time-consuming, and CNC machining benefits the aerospace industry as it is compatible with a wide variety of materials. 

  • CNC rapid prototyping

Research and development are important in any industry, and for the aerospace industry, CNC machining is at the forefront. You can expect a short prototyping production cycle employing CNC machining. Therefore, aerospace engineers can easily develop, edit, and test new prototypes in real-time while complying with AS9001 and ISO 9001:2015 standards.

  • Components in Aviation

Every component used in an aircraft’s construction requires a high level of precision and accuracy. CNC machining is crucial in making the interior part of an aircraft, such as the engine, cockpit, and navigation system. Its extreme precision and significance help in ruling out any odds of failure. 

Conclusion

Durable materials with high quality, performance, efficiency, and design specification, are key ingredients needed by aerospace industries.

These are features that CNC machining guarantees the industry, which is one main reason for the shift in focus to CNC above all other prototyping methods.

This article introduces the features offered by the manufacturing process and why the aerospace industry is shifting its focus to CNC machining. 

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