The aerospace industry demands precision and high quality. The processes used to finish aerospace work pieces should adhere to the same rigorous demands.
Gone are the days when the surface of large structural aircraft components is frequently finished by hand. Thanks to the development of large, powerful vibratory tubs, costly manual deburring and grinding of large aircraft components can now be eliminated by highly controlled mass l finishing systems.
Finding A Better Way
Manual deburring and grinding are tedious and costly. Attempting these types of mass finishing by hand usually causes large quality fluctuations with relatively high scrap rates. Above all, manual processes demand highly skilled labor, which is especially hard to find in today’s economy and tight labor markets.
The lack of skilled labor and manual inefficiencies can lead to severe bottle necks in production and long lead times.
Consider the production delays regarding aircraft orders, aerospace manufacturers cannot make components fast enough. The current delivery window is several years for some larger components! The introduction of vibratory finishing equipment into aerospace production lines can significantly reduce time spent processing components and in turn help reduce component delivery time.
Work Piece Capabilities
Large vibratory tubs are the ideal solution for mechanical deburring, grinding, and edge radiusing of very long, slim work pieces as well as large, bulky components including a large number of aerospace parts with unwieldy shapes and sizes.
An experienced finishing partner can design vibratory tubs to finish nearly any part. Work pieces up to 30 feet long, 5 feet wide, and 5,000 pounds in weight can be processed with properly designed finishing equipment. The time and manual labor saved by replacing manual finishing tasks pays for the equipment investment quickly while producing more consistent and repeatable finishes.
Vibratory tubs can be especially useful in finishing structural components and landing gear. Wing spars, wing ribs, ailerons, flaps, wing tips, engine mounts, and more can be effectively finished in large vibratory tubs.
Shock strut bodies, linkages, wheels, and other components of landing gear can also be processed without manual grinding and deburring thanks to large vibratory tubs.
Mass finishing also offers solutions for other, non-engine aircraft components, including:
- Stringers, formers, wing spars & ribs.
- Aircraft seat frames and seat belt buckles.
- Hydraulic parts (pistons, plungers, valves, connectors).
How Vibratory Tubs Work
Acceleration induces vibratory force within a steel work bowl sitting atop an electric drive with multiple imbalance units in a vibratory tub machine. The work bowl is filled with special grinding material which changes the surface of work pieces.
The vibratory force in the tub causes the media and work pieces in the tub to move and constantly rub against each other.
In order to protect the bowl itself from the media’s surface finishing effects, a wear resistant poly urethane (PU) or rubber lining is installed and can be replaced as wear inevitably occurs.
Ideal for Aerospace
A vibratory tub’s ability to finish large, aluminum and titanium structural parts makes it the ideal finishing technique for the aerospace industry.
The benefits of vibratory finishing include:
- Consistent, repeatable, and high-quality finishing results provided by complete neutralization of the inconsistencies of manual finishing. Quality no longer depends on the operator’s skills.
- Extremely high uptimes and greatly reduced production bottle necks as the mean time between failures (MTBF) amounts to thousands of operating hours. This also significantly reduces the risk of single point of failure.
- Faster finishing times accomplished as mechanical finishing drastically cuts the times for deburring and surface grinding.
- High cost efficiency as automated finishing costs are a small fraction of the costs for manual finishing.
- Eco-friendly operation due to the elimination of hazardous waste and excessive use of natural resources.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this brief overview of vibratory finishing in the aerospace industry. Check back for our next blog which will discuss specific applications and special features of Rosler Metal Finishing’s vibratory finishing offerings.
The complete Aerospace & Vibratory Tub Series includes:
- Part 1, Vibratory Finishing Replaces Manual Finishing in Aerospace Industry.
- Part 2, Aerospace Applications for Vibratory Finishing.
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Post written by
Rosler Metal Finishing, USA
Sales Manager – Mass Finishing
Email Brett or call him at 269-441-3623