In 2021, the global aerospace parts industry achieved a market size of USD 851.5 billion. Grand View Research also projects a compound annual growth rate of 4%. Opportunities await both established and new parts manufacturers, but the right tools are essential to any firm’s success. This short guide introduces the ins and outs of aerospace metalworking — plus the tools needed for your machining processes.

Top 5 Requirements To Become an Aerospace Operation

Every aerospace parts maker must possess five essential elements in its operations. It doesn’t matter what type of components your shop creates or the customers you supply: These requirements ensure that you can successfully meet or exceed your clients’ needs.

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Understanding Your Target Market

Will your shop mass-produce components, take special orders or both? It’s vital to know the intended scope of your manufacturing processes. This knowledge helps define your target market while delineating what you can do for those customers.

Quality Management System

Your quality management system must meet AS9100D requirements derived from ISO 9001:2015 and AS9100:2016. This certification attests that your shop conforms to quality, safety, performance and reliability. AS9100D is specific to aircraft, space and defense industry manufacturers.

CNC Parts Machining Tools

Your shop must have specific CNC equipment for aerospace parts manufacturing. Blades and roots are one relevant example. Because of their complex designs and shapes, they need 5-axis machines for creation. Machining requirements include high-productivity solid end mills typically made from carbide, a stronger-than-steel alloy with excellent heat resistance. Depending on the parts you’re making, you’ll need a specific mix of aerospace machining tools.

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Trained Aerospace Machinists

CNC machinists must already possess critical skills. Some professionals may already have aerospace manufacturing experience. However, other new hires may need classroom and hands-on training to build the components your shop will produce.

Proper Administrative Support

Careful oversight is critical in aerospace manufacturing. Your operations must meet industry guidelines and government mandates. Understanding these requirements is a priority, but you must also have the staff and systems to ensure consistent compliance.

The Applications & Tools Necessary

Your aerospace parts production setup depends on the materials you’ll use and the parts you’ll produce. Titanium, aluminum, and metal alloys have unique properties: melting point, electrical conductivity, density, malleability, and heat conductivity. These are all vital considerations when selecting your equipment. For instance, aluminum’s softness calls for high-horsepower machines when crafting components. Proper balancing, cooling and geometry are essential to producing a high-quality part. Aerospace manufacturing involves several critical processes:

  • Aluminum components
  • Blades and roots
  • Composite materials assembly
  • Engine casings
  • Exhaust system parts
  • Landing gear systems
  • Primary and secondary body components
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As mentioned earlier, you must have the correct CNC equipment for these processes. For example, engine casing creation requires modular tooling, positive cutting-edge geometries and finishing solutions at a single source. Solutions would include turning tools for grooving and cut-off plus modular end mills, shoulder milling and stainless steel drilling.

Ramping Up for Aerospace Manufacturing

While every resource and process plays a vital role in aerospace manufacturing, your CNC equipment forms the critical foundation for your operations. Specialized solutions such as those from Kennametal tools can help you create this foundation.