Precision machining techniques are needed to produce aerospace components that are instrumental throughout an aircraft. These components are often ‘life-critical’, intricate parts that need to meet very precise specifications with high tolerance thresholds. “Quality is a given, because these parts are going in jet engines and landing gear, all across an airplane. It’s what we call ‘life-critical’. There is no room for failure.” explains Scot Barton, VP Sales at . Given the vital nature of the components, selecting the right CNC Machining partner is a critical aspect of an aerospace manufacturers’ process. When selecting a CNC Machining partner there are a couple of key factors to consider:
When it comes to machining high quality precision parts, the first and most important aspect is the in-house equipment that your potential partner is utilizing. The ideal machining partner will have:
- A full complement of high-quality machines with the ability to process large volumes quickly and seamlessly.
- Multi-tasking capabilities to allow machining in a single operation as opposed to only offering multi-fixture operations. This machining capability will allow for greater reliability in the generation of aerospace parts. Multi-tasking capabilities also allow for improved internal flexibility as operators move from machine to machine, going where the work is. Sam Crueger, Engineering Manager at Pointe Precision explains that “the quality is (also) better when a part can be completed on a single machine.”
- ‘One-Stop-Shop’ offerings: Ensuring that all of your CNC Machining needs can be met by a single provider will allow you to streamline your supply chain and simplify your manufacturing process. A reliable partner will remove the stress of delivery.
- Capabilities such as live tooling that will allow parts to be made out of a bar stock. Pointe Precision has seen “numerous examples of savings” for their customers as a result of live tooling capabilities.
Establishing a partnership with a CNC Machining company that has the required in-house technological capabilities will result in reduced lead times, a streamlined supply chain and consistent, quality parts.
Quality & Precision
There is no margin for error when it comes to manufacturing parts for aerospace. Precision and quality are essential to “life-critical” elements that require high tolerances. But how do you assess and identify the CNC Machinists who are able to consistently deliver?
- Look for an organization that has experience manufacturing aerospace parts and has the appropriate certifications to undergo aerospace parts manufacturing (ISO, NADCAP, and AS9100).
- Assess the delivery, precision and quality track record ( for example has received multiple awards from a large tier one Aerospace company for the 100% on time delivery and 0 PPM parts per million).
- The length and extent of the company’s supply chain is also a factor when assessing quality capabilities. Reliably sourced materials and supply chain control are paramount for an organization to guarantee on time delivery or quality parts. “We’re responsible for everything and we want it that way. Our only supply chain consists of the different departments within our four walls; that’s how we guarantee quality” explains Scot Barton, VP of Sales at Pointe Precision.
- Identify partners with single-operation applications. Single-operation applications result in higher quality as the part can be completed on a single machine.
Internal Operational Excellence
The Internal operations of a CNC Machining partner will influence all aspects of output, from the reliability, quality and consistency of parts, to the on time delivery. Besides the equipment, a major factor influencing efficiency is the caliber and productivity of the work force. “Without the people, the best equipment is not a competitive edge” notes Scot, “we have the expertise to use our machines to their full potential, where some of our competitors may not.”
Skilled labor has been aging out of the manufacturing workforce resulting in increased concerns about the growing “skill-gap”. In response, progressive Machining organizations are taking it upon themselves to guarantee and develop a qualified workforce for years to come. “We home-grow a lot of our own machinists; approximately 20 of our employees have already gone through the program. We’re investing our knowledge in future operators” Sam Crueger explains. As the 2015 Young Adult Employer Champion (National Fund for Workforce Solutions), Pointe Precision is doing its part to ensure that young generations are exposed to and are developing the skills needed to pursue a career in manufacturing.
Cost Effectiveness, Reliability & Turn-Around Speed
Receiving the necessary parts on time is critical for any manufacturer. Delayed delivery times and insufficient parts will slow down total operations and threaten the buyer organization’s ability to meet its customer’s service commitments.
The least expensive parts to machine are those that can be completed in a single setup, i.e., they do not have features on the sides or on the back that require the parts to be flipped over and repositioned. Additional setups add considerable time and expense to parts. Pointe Precision’s Mill-turn machines can do parts complete that other shops would use 3 axis lathes and vertical mills to complete. Less setup means less variability (higher quality) and less cost.
Parts made correctly to print within lead time enable Pointe Precision’s parts to go from dock to stock and directly into production which saves inspection time and buyer issues.
Collaboration with Pointe Precision‘s engineering department can help you achieve your design goals to help improve existing products and new part introductions to limit machining risk factors and cost effective work holding.