CARTER MANUFACTURING + OTAR= A GREAT PARTNERSHIP IN ITALY

Carter Manufacturing is a global supplier of precision bearings and aerospace tooling equipment and they continue to exploit opportunities to promote their industry leading bearings beyond the UK. The company reports a recent trip to Puglia in Italy resulted in “many positive meetings along with interactive aerospace bearing tool training.”

The focus in Italy is for good reason, as certain areas include many aerospace and ‘high-end’ engineering companies who can benefit from Carters expertise. Carter work in close collaboration with OTAR their Italian agents and this represents an ideal partnership in promoting both aerospace, commercial industrial bearings as well as aerospace bearing tool products. OTAR’s proactive approach to supporting their customers is combined with their accreditations of ISO:9001 and certification to AS9120, which they call “a great combination.”

Southeast Italy’s Puglia area, often known as Apulia, has the longest coastline of any Italian mainland region, is known as the ‘bread basket of Italy’ and is also famous for olive oil production. The area includes the provinces of Bari, Barletta-Andria-Trani, Brindisi, Foggia, Lecce and Taranto and stretches from the Fortore River in the northwest to Cape Santa Maria di Leuca at the tip of the Salentine Peninsula – AKA ‘Italy’s heel’.

Less known to a wider audience are the thriving ‘space clusters’ focusing on the aerospace and aviation industries, located in Apulia, Campania, Lazio and Piedmont where leading manufacturers are located along with major research institutes. The projects and sectors include; satellites such as microsatellites, EO, NAV and TLC, advanced space robotics, remotely piloted aircraft systems, micro propulsion systems, range extended hybrids and aerospace interiors.

THOMMEN Introduces AC32 Air Data Computer Product Configurator Software

THOMMEN AIRCRAFT EQUIPMENT announced the availability of a new software tool to configure the AC32 Air Data Computer.

The Air Data Computer is a vital aircraft component and configuration to the aircraft system is essential. The AC32 is a highly customizable Air Data Computer, that can be integrated to many rotary wing and fixed wing applications.

This software offers our customers the opportunity to explore the features of the AC32 and configure it directly for the respective application. It also helps when adapting external sensors (TAT/ OAT / AoA).

Many time-consuming clarifications are simplified with this user-friendly tool, so that problems can be easily identified at an early stage. A major advantage for the customer is that they can quickly create a feasibility study in advance and understand the system connection to the aircraft interactively.

In general, the time for aircraft level certification for the AC32 Air Data Computer as an LRU can be significantly reduced. For retrofit cases such as replacing an obsolete Air Data Computer, this tool is useful to find a suitable part number.

Features of the software include:

· Configuration of aircraft specific parameters (altitude, airspeed, and Mach range)

· Configuration of discretes for certain functions (e.g., airspeed warnings, warning flags)

· Individual selection of ARINC 429 labels

· Sensor adaptation and calibration for TAT / OAT probes

· Sensor adaptation and calibration of AoA probe

· Specific corrections, such as SSEC, IAS offset slope or IAS/CAS conversion, can be configured

· Internal digital filters for outputs can be configured

The software is available for Windows 11, 10 and 7 and can be downloaded here: AC32 Product Configurator Software.

Kaman Measuring Announces KD-5100+ High Reliability Sensor System for Fast Steering Mirror Control

The Measuring Division of Kaman Precision Products announced the KD-5100+, an upgraded higher reliability version of Kaman’s legacy KD-5100 measuring system. The KD-5100+ retains the proven performance of the KD-5100 system while incorporating upgrades to the circuit layout, ground connections, and sensor connectors. The upgraded system also features higher reliability diodes and capacitors.

The KD-5100+ is the ideal choice for laser communications, satellite and ground station applications, as well as directed energy (ground, shipboard, and airborne), and image stabilization systems.

Two precisely matched sensors of a measuring channel are positioned opposite each other on the back of a fast steering mirror (FSM) in two axes at 90 degrees to each other. As the FSM actuators drive the mirror about the center flexure, the mirror moves away from one sensor of an axis and toward the other sensor an equal amount. The KD-5100+ output signal is used to actively control mirror position.

At the heart of the upgraded KD-5100+ is a Mil-PRF-38534 Class H proprietary hybrid microcircuit. The system also features dual channel signal conditioner with two precisely matched sensors per channel.

Designed for thermal and long term stability, radiation tolerant, and suitable for vacuum applications, the KD-5100+ offers a small package size and low power consumption. It features isolated signal and chassis grounds and low outgassing components.

Signal conditioning electronics are available in the identical low profile enclosure as the KD-5100. Enclosure finish can be either black paint for low reflectivity or bright nickel finish for lower outgassing. Sensor and signal conditioner packaging can be customized for unique requirements.

Kaman offers high-precision, electro-mechanical contract manufacturing at its 215,000 square foot facility, with assembly to IPC-A-610 Class III and component traceability. Complete end-item data package (EIDP) development is available upon request. The Measuring Division of Kaman Precision Products follows rigorous aerospace quality systems. The manufacturing facility is certified to AS9100 and ISO 9001:2000 and features a class 100 clean room.

Inflatable Space Habitats Use Sensors Embedded in Webbing for Structural Health Monitoring

By Ted Fetterman

Future human space exploration requires a safe living environment for astronauts. That is why a robust structural health monitoring (SHM) process is imperative to ensure equipment safety, particularly for the inflatable habitat structures that are the most cost-efficient solution to the astronauts’ living space needs. A novel approach is moving away from conventional SHM testing methods in favor of using sensors embedded in the flexible structural restraint webbing layers. The sensors can collect data on stress, strain, creep, and impacts of micro meteorites throughout the inflatable habitat’s lifecycle. The embedded fiber optic sensors were woven into VECTRAN webbing and then later integrated into an inflatable test article that was tested at NASA Johnson Space Center for potential use in future inflatable habitat structures for NASA Lunar Gateway and Mars missions.[1]

New approach sought for structural health monitoring in space

In 2007, Bally Ribbon Mills (BRM) began working with Luna Innovations, Inc., an American developer and manufacturer of fiber-optics- and terahertz-based technology products for aerospace. Luna’s NASA contact had suggested the partnership to provide a demonstration sample that could show the capabilities of Luna’s technology, which focuses on integrating high-definition fiber optic sensors (HD-FOS) into a three-dimensional woven carbon structure used in composites. The project was undertaken as part of the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program, a competitive awards-based research and development program that helps small businesses explore their technological potential and provides the incentive to profit from its commercialization.[2]

The project aimed to demonstrate the integration of optical fiber sensing technology into composites to monitor the vacuum assisted resin transfer molding (VARTM) process. The team designed a composite cantilever beam with three-dimensional carbon fiber reinforcement that was fabricated with embedded optical sensing fibers. Bally Ribbon Mills wove the carbon fiber preform with warp, fill, and Z-axis reinforcing fiber. During the preform weaving process, BRM added optical fiber bobbins to the weaving loom and determined the necessary processes to integrate fiber optic strain sensors into the weave.

BRM successfully wove the material and passed it along to Luna. Fast-forward 15 years, and Luna came back to collaborate with BRM on a NASA multi-phase grant award examining whether the embedded sensor technology could survive all the required manufacturing processes for use in inflatable habitat structures being developed for upcoming space missions. During this phase, the focus is on integrating fiber optic sensors into Vectran webbing for inflatable space habitat SHM. The approach uses sensors to capture data throughout an object’s lifecycle.

The data collected from “smart webbing” could be used for many applications:

 -Optimizing process control by using data to increase quality, efficiency, and effectiveness.
 -Centralizing reporting by characterizing operational norms and preventing false alarms, as well as gaining the ability to access information from anywhere.

While the space habitat SHM application focuses on strain measurement, examples of the kind of data that might be measured include:

-Strain
o Wear and tear, fatigue, aging, structural health, safety
-Temperature
o Material joints, process control, safety
-Intrusion detection, process control, safety
-Vessel Pressure
-Flow rate, quality (contamination, transmitted material formulation), volumes

For the space habitat SHM application, the long-term goal was to be able to measure stress, strain, and temperature, as well as pinpoint the location of important events. For example, if a micro meteorite hits the shell fabric and causes a point source stress, scientists could know where it hit and be able to gauge the potential for failure.

During this project, BRM integrated Luna fiber optic sensors into Vectran webbing. The BRM materials served as woven optical carriers, which are critical in applications that experience high strain. Carriers add reinforcement to fiber optic sensors and prevent high strain from being transferred directly to the fiber. Sensors are woven into the carrier and then embedded into a material. The carriers serve as component parts in the eventual construction of assemblies that capture and transmit information to a downstream computing technology. The weaving technology enables the measurement and conversion of information to knowledge and/or action.

The resulting benefits include the ability to take corrective action based on improved monitoring capability; the actuation of human/machine involvement; the transformation of connected objects; and ultimately the fuller automation of manufacturing processes, and the integration of non- destructive inspection tools.

Overcoming webbing manufacturing process challenges

Manufacturing webbing with embedded sensors comes with two main challenges. The first is ensuring the sensor is not damaged during the weaving process. A loom’s primary machine motion manipulates the warp and weft yarns in an alternating pattern and exerts high tension and abrasion forces on the yarn. The sensor must also survive the same motions. BRM minimized the effects of the weaving processes on the sensor by placing it in a specific location within the weave structure where the sensor’s interaction with adjacent yarns is lessened. The sensor is constructed of a fiber optic glass core with a protective polymer coating. This fiber is relatively brittle and will be damaged when conforming to a tight radius. The allowable radius varies based on the diameter of the core fiber optic material, but the benchmark is ½-inch radius. Therefore, during the weaving process BRM had to minimize bending radii of the sensor to prevent damage.

The second challenge is to ensure that the weave design is precise enough to place sensor ingresses and egresses in the proper locations within the surface of the weave structure. Weaving is a process with many variables and only moderate controls; it is not possible to achieve metal machine tolerances. This means there is always a bit of trial and error when dealing with the integration of a sensor in a specific location. In this case, the BRM team wove start-up samples based on a benchtop analysis of weave design, checked the samples after weaving, and then made adjustments to ensure accurate compliance with sensor location specifications.

Testing the sensor for continuity

Luna Innovations tested the fiber optic sensors woven into the flexible structural restraint layer webbings on an inflatable test article with a diameter of 0.61 meters (2 feet) fabricated from Vectran, a manufactured filament fiber with a liquid-crystal polymer chemistry. Experiments successfully demonstrated creep sensing, pressure sensing, and detection of damage location and magnitude. For example, the Luna team performed tests simulating micro meteoroid and orbital debris damage on panels of instrumented webbings, which demonstrated successful detection of the event and location.

A one-third scale, 2.74 meter diameter (9 feet) inflatable with embedded structural health sensors was used for creep and burst testing at NASA’s Johnson Space Center. A habitat containing the smart webbing was inflated and measurements are being recorded at regular intervals for a total period of about 2 months. Measuring the long-term creep of the habitat system is important to the safety and viability of the inflatable habitat program. All materials, when exposed to stress over time, will creep or elongate. Vectran itself resists creep, but it is difficult to calculate the actual amount of creep in the habitat system because of the wide variety of materials and different layers being used in its construction.

NASA is performing the testing to validate the bench-top engineering and design of the habitat’s structural components.

While the goal is to complete the project by 2023, the need to orchestrate raw material supply, component procurement, manufacturing, assembly, testing, test-facilities scheduling, and funding means that timing predictions are definitely subject to change. Based on previous success with the prior phases and benchmarks, BRM is currently contracted to produce the next set of “sensorized” webbing.

“BRM’s work in developing the manufacturing processes necessary to integrate fiber optic strain sensors into the fabric weave was key to our success and is helping to move the technology into the future,” says Matthew Davis, Luna’s R&D Director, Lightwave Division. “We rely on their skills and are excited about working in partnership with them to extend the innovative approach into other SHM applications.” One example is a Navy Phase II SBIR effort in which Luna and BRM are integrating fiber into the harness a fighter pilot might wear.

As Davis explains, “Webbing textiles are critical to many personnel safety systems in U.S. Navy aircraft, but there are currently no viable non-destructive techniques to detect when the load strength has degraded to an unsafe level. With BRM’s assistance, we are integrating this technology, which enables accurate assessment of the load capabilities for nylon, polyester, and Kevlar structures during their service life.”

Structural health monitoring is critical for the future

Ensuring the safety of long duration human habitation in space or on other planets will depend on structural health monitoring. The new sensor-based technique for monitoring the health of the flexible soft goods restraints on inflatable living structures shows great promise. If the embedded sensing technology proves to be successful, it could be included in future space mission habitation structures, including the Lunar Gateway or Mars missions.

References

1. Embedded Fiber Optic SHM Sensors for Inflatable Space Habitats, by Osgar John Ohanian III,1 Matthew A. Davis, Luna Innovations Incorporated, Blacksburg, VA, 24060,USA; Jeffrey Valania, Benjamin Sorensen, Sierra Nevada Corporation, Louisville, CO,USA; Megan Dixon, Matthew Morgan, ILC Dover, Frederica, DE, USA; Douglas A. Litteken, NASA Johnson Space Center, Houston, TX, USA
2. The SBIR and STTR Programs, https://www.sbir.gov/about, retrieved 3/7/22.

SkySelect Partners with AeroParts Now to Streamline and Automate Aircraft Parts Quotation Process.

SkySelect, the eProcurement-as-a-Service platform provider, has entered into a partnership with AeroParts Now to integrate their respective platforms to enhance the aircraft parts purchasing process for suppliers.

The new integration will bring greater efficiency and ease of use, leading to more sales volume for suppliers by automating the submission of catalogs and quotes. Historically, this process has been tedious, and time-consuming as suppliers rely on manual daily or weekly batch uploads instead of data streams. “We’re always looking for ways to provide our parts supplier customers with streamlined processes and innovative ways to close sales, and that’s why we’ve integrated our system with SkySelect’s,” said Will Dent, AeroParts Now president and CTO. “Given SkySelect’s market growth, it’s a platform that cannot be missed out on.”

Once suppliers have connected, the process will run automatically, saving time and creating new revenue opportunities. Those opportunities are due to increase significantly because SkySelect has and is on pace to onboard many new airline and MRO customers in the coming months.

“Of course, a lot of consideration is given to the buyer, but that’s just one part of the complete parts purchasing process, said Ricky Lim, SkySelect’s Senior Manager – Sales & Business Development. “Our aim at SkySelect is to support and improve the entire supply chain, including driving innovation and better user experience on the supplier side. That’s why the partnership with AeroParts Now gets us excited.”

Avotek Publishes New Edition of Aircraft Turbine Engines Textbook

Avotek’s latest textbook, Aircraft Turbine Engines, second edition is now available. The authors, Purdue University professors Thomas W. Wild and John Michael Davis, updated this classic textbook to explain the latest in turbine engine technology and manufacturing practices. Notable changes for the second edition:
• Updated timeline of advancements
• Added or improved content on enthalpy, additive (3D) manufacturing, digital instrument face examples, engine health management systems
• New format with more color photos and illustrations
• Improved index

The book still covers the unchanging principles of heat engines, performance factors, and all the terminology that goes with them. Turbofan, turboprop, and turboshaft engines are explored, emphasizing their differences and how they fulfill unique requirements. Example engine models are covered in detail for each type.

This book was written for powerplant technicians and crewmembers who service, maintain, and operate gas turbine engines used on today’s aircraft. Comprehensive diagrams and images are used throughout the text to illustrate key concepts. Turbine engine practices and techniques provide background information on standard industry practices.

For more information on this book and the updated content, see the Avotek site: https://www.avotek.com/avotek-releases-aircraft-turbine-engines-second-edition/ . To order this book, go to https://www.avotek.com/shop/aircraft-turbine-engines-textbook/ .

About Avotek
Avotek, of Weyers Cave, VA, develops and manufactures modern, fully functional aviation maintenance training systems; publishes a full line of high-quality, up-to-date textbooks that complement its training systems; and offers online training.
Avotek has earned an industry reputation for quality and excellence. Our team of authors includes mechanics, inspectors, aviation experts, and instructors. They are actively involved in aviation maintenance training or working in the aviation maintenance field. They bring their expertise to Avotek from colleges, universities, and current hands-on experience.
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p.s. If you need larger photos, please let me know; I can send them. Thank you!

GROB Systems Announces Modular GROB-NET 4 Industry Web Applications

GROB Systems announces its new modular GROB-NET 4 Industry web applications, enabling manufacturers to network and digitalize production processes across all plants to increase facility efficiency.

Offering an all-round package for modern production in the Industry 4.0 era, GROB provides 12 modules ranging from planning to engineering to maintenance. Each GROB-NET 4 Industry module is designed to increase productivity. Users can select from among these modules and combine the most relevant for the best system to ensure transparency and connectivity:

GROB4Line – The machine in sight via smartphone
 GROB4Analyze – Feedback from the machine for CIP
 GROB4Simulate – Complex processes and parts simply simulated
 GROB4Coach – Programming, simulation, training
 GROB4Interface – Easy route to machine communication
 GROB4Connect – Connection from the real world to the ERP system
 GROB4Pilot – Multi-functional, interactive machine operation
 GROB4Automation – Intuitive production control software for unmanned operation
 GROB4Track – Machine axes in view at all times
 GROB4Care – Service and maintenance portal
 GROB4Portal – The secure Cloud for the industry
 GROB4Optimization-MSP – Process evaluation for motorized spindles

ALUULA Commercializes the World’s Lightest and Strongest Soft Composite Materials for the Aviation & Defense Industry

ALUULA Composites is pleased to announce that it has successfully launched an entirely new class of lightweight soft composites, calling them “a new class of world leading ‘lightest and strongest’ composite fabrics.”

ALUULA says they have developed a patented proprietary technique for fusing disparate materials at the molecular level, removing the need for heavy glues while creating much stronger bonds between the laminated layers. Using the world’s strongest known polymers as input materials, the ALUULA process delivers technical results that are significantly better than anything currently available in the soft composite world. The weight of an ALUULA composite material can be as much as 50% lighter than competitive materials while still delivering equal or greater strength characteristics. The ALUULA process also allows the use of input materials that were previously difficult to bond to, unlocking “next level” technical specifications.

“Between the interest in our materials generated from the ISPO Awards and the transformational effect our composites have had in the Wind Sport sector, ALUULA is now in co-development conversations with industry leaders from a broad range of uses and applications. It is an extremely exciting time for our entire team” said ALUULA COO John Zimmerman.

The ALUULA Vaepor series was given the ISPO Textrends Best Soft Product Award for 2021/22, acknowledging the many benefits the material offers over current industry standards. The ALUULA Vaepor series provides the world’s highest strength to weight characteristics while remaining extremely durable.

The ALUULA Durlyte series was recognized by ISPO Textrends as a Top 5 winner at the 2022/23 Awards while also achieving finalist status at the 2021 Outdoor Retailer Awards. Using the same ALUULA process, the ALUULA Durlyte series is by far the most durable composite material available in its weight class. In third party abrasion testing, ALUULA Durlyte is almost 10x more abrasion resistant as any other material available in the market.

ALUULA says they are already in co-development with industry leaders in several industry sectors where the idea of Lighter and Stronger soft composites provides clear advantages. These efforts are driving further innovation and Intellectual Property in the material bonding sciences. Very promising additional cross linking technology development continues between ALUULA and its chemistry partners.

AMETEK MRO Singapore Invests in A350 Repair Capability

AMETEK Singapore has augmented its capabilities by investing in Airbus A350 maintenance solutions. The decision, which will provide customers in the Asia Pacific region with a regional support option for the full suite of cargo and galley heaters for the aircraft type, will be further complemented by AMETEK’s current airworthiness approvals including CAAS, CAAC, FAA, EASA, JCAB, CAAM, CAAV, and DGCA.

AMETEK Singapore has extended the number of airworthiness approvals that the group offers in the Asia Pacific region. In recent years, the company’s new investment to support aircraft, such as the A350, has been part of a focused strategy to expand the range of repair services to airlines across the broader region, including China and Japan.

“The A350 has a range of around 15,000km so it is hardly surprising that operators are choosing this aircraft to service their long-haul routes,” commented Dave Corish, divisional vice president and General Manager of AMETEK Singapore PTE. “As such, it is crucial to be able to provide comprehensive maintenance solutions, particularly in regions such as Asia Pacific, where European- and U.S.-based MROs are not viable repair options from a logistics point of view. As an authorized warranty repair station, we provide OEM warranty assessment as well as repair services for cockpit, galley, and bulk cargo components.”

AMETEK Singapore PTE will work with its sister company AMETEK Airtechnology Group as part of its end-to-end service offering strategy, to provide this additional global aftermarket support for its suite of A350 electrical heaters. AMETEK Airtechnology Group specializes in the design, development, and manufacture of thermal management and motion control products. Sheraz Ahmed, vice president and managing director of AMETEK Airtechnology Group, said, “By leveraging AMETEK’s dedicated and global aftermarket footprint, the teams have been able to establish capability in a seamless and efficient way. This allows us to provide our Asia Pacific customers with an enhanced level of support in-region as flight hours continue to recover and grow.”

AMETEK says the growth in their Singapore facility’s capabilities has increased the scope of component repair services across the aviation sector. Legacy carriers, low-cost airlines, regional operators, biz jets, and military opportunities are all integral to the long-term plans of the Singaporean facility. With predicted fleet growth expected to outpace that of other regions, local demand is forecast to increase exponentially in the next 10 years. As such, AMETEK Singapore recognises the need to deliver not only the highest standards but also the guaranteed turnaround times that today’s ultra-efficient airlines expect.

According to Corish, the pandemic has driven changes to AMETEK’s strategy causing a shift in how the MRO will address the market.

“We will be influenced by fleet retirements, airline restructuring and airline purchasing strategies,” said Corish. “Many aviation businesses have seen a downturn in revenue and will seize the opportunity to align their businesses with the new aftermarket that emerges post pandemic. As OEMs look to maximise opportunities on relatively new platforms — such as the A350 and B787 — without significantly increasing their local footprint, they will seek third-party MROs, like AMETEK, that have invested significantly in local capabilities. These OEMs will be interested in partnering on product repair and licensing agreements, especially for more mature product lines.”

SixDigma Develops Custom Digital Manufacturing Solutions to Tight Tolerances in Aerospace Applications with GROB Universal Machine

SixDigma is a manufacturing solutions company that develops custom digital manufacturing solutions for aerospace companies. The company specializes in advanced integration of CAD CAM and CNC systems to solve complex machining problems in aerospace applications. The SixDigma team includes experts in design, manufacturing, and process development, with a proven track record of solving some of the toughest manufacturing challenges. Part of meeting those challenges is having the best possible equipment in their shop. Recently, SixDigma added a GROB G350 Universal Machine to
expand their machining capabilities. Thanks to the machine’s high precision and effective design, SixDigma has seen an improvement in machining tolerances and efficiency.

Digital Manufacturing Solutions for Challenging Applications

With a primary focus on the aerospace market, SixDigma develops custom digital manufacturing solutions for some of the most demanding manufacturing environments in existence. With customers who manufacture products like aircraft engines, SixDigma’s processes are developed for demanding materials like titanium and inconel when off-the-shelf manufacturing solutions don’t suffice. SixDigma’s customers come to the company seeking manufacturing solutions that are more exact, more repeatable, and more efficient than other existing options.

One of the most significant parts of SixDigma’s business comes from adaptive machining solutions. Customers come to SixDigma with parts that have been forged, cast, 3D printed, or otherwise produced with methods that lead to slight variations between each part. The experts at SixDigma work to develop digital manufacturing solutions that include tool paths adapted to the part variations. The machining tool paths must be adapted to the parts’ existing geometry so that the resulting products are highly consistent, with usual required tolerances down to 1/10,000 th of an inch. SixDigma
achieves these highly consistant results with a mix of CAD/CAM/CNC integration in sophisticated manufacturing solutions.

Deciding on a GROB Universal Machine

Given that SixDigma works with major engine manufacturers and suppliers from across the aerospace market, the company’s experts are familiar with nearly every CNC machine on the market. When it came time to upgrade their in-house equipment, the SixDigma team was looking out for a CNC machine that could support their cutting-edge work in adaptive machining applications. After trying out a number of different machines, the SixDigma team realized that the ones manufactured by GROB were uniquely positioned to satisfy their highly demanding accuracy and machine stability requirements.

“After evaluating many top-tier 5 axis machines, the GROB Universal Machines proved to be best when it came to satisfying all of our requirements for part dimensional quality and machine stability,” said Edwin Gasparraj, Founder and Principal Consultant at SixDigma. “After using machines manufactured by GROB in a variety of settings, our team went out to the GROB facility in Ohio for some final testing, and we ultimately selected the GROB G350 Universal Machine for our shop. It has all of the premium machining capabilities we need, without a premium price tag.”

GROB G350 Improves Efficiency

When using the GROB G350 installed at SixDigma, Gasparraj noted that one of the features most machinists notice immediately is compact machine exterior compared with the large machinable volume and large part sizes made possible by the machine’s unique working envelope. What’s more, the compact size compared with large machinable volume adds the stability that SixDigma needs for the demands of aerospace applications. GROB’s unique kinematic arrangement puts fixed frame components close to machining envelope such that even the most extended tool position is never more than a foot away from the fixed frame, which provides exceptional stability for both the part and the cutting tool.

“Our experience with our new GROB G350 proves that it’s one of the most stable machines we’ve ever come across,” Gasparraj added. “Given the increased force placed on the machine by the hard aircraft materials we use, the stability of the machining action is critically important.”

The G350’s high stability also translates into greater production efficiency for SixDigma. Since the GROB Universal Machine can deliver tolerances up to 10x more precise than even the highest precision required by SixDigma’s customers, repeat work is almost never necessary.

“In our adaptive machining solutions, we’re chasing tolerances that are some of the smallest in the industry at about +/-10/1000 th of an inch,” Gasparraj said. “With the G350’s ability to maintain tolerances down to 1/1000 th of an inch in most cases, accurately and repeatedly, we’re able to overdeliver on part quality to even the most demanding aircraft customers.”

Ease of Maintenance and Excellent Service

Beyond the GROB Universal Machine’s accuracy and repeatability, SixDigma was drawn to the company’s reputation for superior service.

“GROB is known for service and for valuing technology,” Gasparraj added. “The fact that everyone working at GROB can explain in detail what’s happening with the machine and how to service it effectively and holistically was a major selling point.”

Gasparraj specifically pointed to the ways in which GROB makes it possible for customers to easily perform necessary service on their own machines without needing a technician to come in person, thus improving uptime and efficiency.

“GROB uses some of the same components for hydraulics, pneumatics, cooling systems, and more, making it easy to stock a small number of spare parts for the machine,” Gasparraj said. “We can stock fewer than 10 major components and still maintain confidence that our machine can be up and running with minimal hassle.”

Gasparraj added that the team has been impressed with how the entire GROB Universal Machine is clearly laid out, with separate cabinets for hydraulics, pneumatics, and the cooling system. Paired with descriptive error messages that pinpoint issues to a specific system and clearly labeled components in each cabinet, this clear and precise layout adds to the machine’s overall efficient running and upkeep.

“Due to the rapid nature of our business, time saved is always more important to us than anything else, even the cost replacement components. When we’re working on a critical project, we need to be able to get up and running and staying that way,” Gasparraj explained. “The attention to detail in the layout of the machine ensures that we never spend more than a few moments identifying a problem, and we can always be confident that when we make a fix, it’s the right fix. The resulting improvement in uptime over other machines is incredibly valuable in the work we do.”

Conclusion

Given its specialization in advanced adaptive machining for some of the most demanding aerospace applications in the world, SixDigma needs to be confident in its machining technology. Thanks to the high stability, accuracy, and repeatability of their GROB G350 Universal Machine, as well as the efficiency guaranteed by its easy maintenance and excellent service, the SixDigma team can be confident in meeting and exceeding their customer’s expectations for machining.