Metal stamped components find use in a full range of industries, and in safety-critical applications such as aerospace, those components must be manufactured to extremely tight tolerances and precision. To ensure that safety is never compromised, aircraft manufacturers must adhere to stringent quality standards. Not only do aerospace parts need to be durable, but they also are required to withstand fluctuations in pressure and temperatures created during the aircraft flight profile.
Component weight is an important consideration to reduce fuel costs, which are directly impacted by the weight of the aircraft. When aircraft performance is crucial, as in military applications, lighter weight materials provide for greater maneuverability and versatility in mission profiles. To achieve lower weights, titanium is often selected, which is popular for its extreme temperature and corrosion resistance, as well as its high strength-to-weight ratio. Aluminum is another popular material choice, offering excellent corrosion resistance, weldability, and a lightweight design. Waspaloy®, also, offers similar high temperature and corrosion resistance and tolerates frequent thermal cycling. A high-tensile-strength and temperature-resistant option, Inconel® is also ideal, as is stainless steel. Most companies can handle metal stamping production runs of nearly any size.
Types of Metal Stamped Aerospace Parts
Manufacturers who create metal stamped parts for the aerospace industry have the ability to produce components in countless shapes, sizes, and forms.
Common stamped parts featuring larger form factors include:
- Seat components
Other common smaller items include:
- A variety of fasteners, including:
- Anchor bolts
- Self-tapping screws
- Cotter pins
- Castle nuts
Metal Stamping Machinery for Aerospace Applications
Some companies engineer every tool and die which is used in the metal stamping process in-house, while others make use of a range of different equipment. For the production of high-performance parts utilized in the aerospace sector, the following tools and machines are often used:
- Computer-Aided Design (CAD)/Computer-Aided Manufacturing (CAM) Software — CAD involves the creation of modeled parts or systems that engineers can test by conducting virtual simulations. CAM, on the other hand, utilizes digital design data to control automated machinery. These two techniques are often used together to integrate a company’s design and manufacturing activities, thus ensuring the high accuracy needed for aerospace parts.
- Electrical Discharge Machining (EDM) — EDM machining involves passing an electrical current between an electrode and a component in order to cut a formed metal part from metal sheet during production. EDM is known for its high level of precision and for its ability to easily work materials that are traditionally more difficult to cut.
- Computer Numerical Control (CNC) Machining — CNC machining involves the use of computer software to program and automate the motion of a tool or die, allowing for higher accuracy.
- Four-Slide/Multi-Slide Stamping Press — Four-slide and multi-slide stamping presses work at right angles, as opposed to the vertical motion of traditional metal stamping presses. This right-angle motion gives the tooling greater access to the metal itself, from multiple angles — allowing for the introduction of bends and twists to stamped parts. This capability makes multi-stamping an ideal solution for aircraft component designs needing complex shapes or curves.
Many manufacturers also offer secondary services that support the metal stamping operations and allow them to deliver ready-to-use parts.
With all required processes housed under one roof, customers can benefit from faster production times and significantly lower costs. Among the most popular secondary services offered are:
- Drilling and Tapping
- Painting and Powder Coating
- Deburring and Cleaning
- Heat Treating
Choosing the Right Metal Stamper
There’s no margin for error with metal-stamped parts used in the aerospace industry. The machinery used in their production must ensure high precision, accuracy, and safety. To assure achievement of the highest part performance possible, it’s crucial to partner with a metal stamping provider who can guide you through every step of the production process, and deliver customized, high-quality parts for all of your unique aerospace needs.
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