When a local aerospace manufacturer approached SAS to take on some production work, we got ready to support them. Having already worked with this company on engineering and prototyping jobs, SAS was excited about the opportunity to become part of their production team as well.
The project involved removing the gates (the leftover material from the channel used to fill a mold) from their airfoils using electrical discharge machining (EDM). An EDM machine is an alternative to milling that uses electrical discharges from a graphite or copper electrode to remove material from a part. EDM is an excellent technique for machining aircraft components because the intricate shapes of these parts make them difficult to machine with conventional equipment and they must be machined to very tight tolerances.
The aerospace manufacturer had long been relying on a single out-of-state supplier to process their parts; although this supplier had been doing a good job, the manufacturer wanted the sourcing flexibility of having a second supplier located nearby.
Taking on the airfoil EDM project posed several different challenges, the first of which was acquiring Nadcap (National Aerospace and Defense Contractors Accreditation Program) certification for nonconventional machining, which includes EDM and was required for this project. Nadcap is a global cooperative accreditation program for aerospace engineering, defense and related industries that seeks to ensure that manufacturers produce quality products in a cost-effective manner. SAS assigned a team that devoted more than two months’ worth of effort to obtaining this certification.
The second challenge was investing in the EDM machines needed to handle the level of throughput the manufacturer required. After evaluating several different models, SAS decided to invest in EDM equipment produced by GF AgieCharmilles, the industry leader in the development of EDM machines.
Today, SAS processes up to thousands of airfoils a day for this customer, adjusting our production to meet the requirements of their schedule. When they need airfoils with a quick turnaround, SAS can receive, process, and turn around parts within 48 hours.
SAS wants to be part of your manufacturing team. Call us to discuss how we can work together to meet your production needs.