Precision is crucial for aerospace components. Parts for this industry must not only hold up in critical applications and withstand harsh conditions, but they must also meet stringent industry requirements and inspection criteria to ensure proper functionality. Aircraft production and assembly require maximum accuracy as even the smallest imperfection can have adverse effects and lead to mechanical failure.
Computer numerical control (CNC) machining can generate metal and plastic parts with extremely tight tolerances, making it well suited for aerospace manufacturing. Learn more about aerospace machining, material options, applications, and how the team at Worldwide Instrument Parts Company, Inc. (WIPCO) can assist with precision CNC machining for aerospace parts.
What Is Aerospace CNC Machining?
CNC machining for the aerospace sector produces precision components, assemblies, and kits through processes like CNC milling and CNC turning for applications in space shuttle and aircraft assembly, maintenance, and repair. Compared to conventional CNC machining, aerospace CNC machining requires tighter tolerances and typically involves harder-to-machine materials. Manufacturers for the aerospace sector use high-value machining equipment such as turn-mill and five-axis machines and precision grinders to produce components like hinges, bushings, and clamps, as well as custom parts.
At WIPCO, our team utilizes an array of state-of-the-art CNC mills, lathes, and screw machines, as well as a Zeiss Contura G2 CMM and Vicci Optical Measuring equipment for inspections, to ensure high-quality parts that hold tolerances of up to ±0.0002. Our cutting-edge computer-aided design (CAD) and computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) software also aid us in producing precision CNC-machined parts for the industry.
Materials for Aerospace Machined Parts
The aerospace industry has strict regulations for acceptable materials in parts manufacturing. They must be strong and durable yet lightweight. Aluminum is one of the most common materials fulfilling these conditions for aerospace CNC machining, either as an alloy or in its pure form. Compliant materials for aerospace parts include:
- Aluminum Alloy Series 2xxx. Combined with copper, this high-strength aluminum alloy series possesses good workability and superior machinability. It has common applications in machined parts such as fuselage structures and airplane wings for its impressive strength-to-weight ratio.
- Aluminum Alloy Series 6xxx. One of the most versatile aluminum alloy series, this material alloys aluminum with magnesium and silicon, enhancing its corrosion resistance, strength, and formability.
- Aluminum Alloy Series 7xxx. This aluminum series is composed of zinc—which is the primary alloying element—magnesium, chromium, and copper. Its alloys display impressive strength for applications throughout the aviation and defense industries for military aircraft.
Aerospace CNC machining has applications in both general aviation and spaceflight.
Precision is a fundamental aspect of aircraft construction for passenger airlines, cargo planes, fighter jets, and more. CNC machining is capable of producing many components that airplanes require, including wings, outer shells, cockpit parts, and even engines. Using this manufacturing method ensures a heightened level of quality and uniformity throughout production that will reduce part or system failure concerns.
Spacecraft components require maximum accuracy as well to ensure efficient, dependable operation and user safety. However, a spacecraft, unlike an ordinary aircraft, has to exit and reenter the Earth’s atmosphere and withstand the harsh environmental conditions of outer space for extended periods. For crafts to endure these situations, they require precision machined parts designed to maximize safety and durability, along with careful assembly.
Aerospace Machining Services From WIPCO
As an ISO 9001:2015/AS9100D-certified specialty manufacturer, WIPCO has over two decades of experience in machining precision components while emphasizing competitive pricing, on-time delivery, and superior customer service. We work with everything from easy-to-machine materials to difficult high-temperature superalloys to generate the simplest or most complex components, based on our customers’ unique specifications. Contact us to learn more about how WIPCO’s services support aerospace applications, or request a quote today for precision machining.