The aerospace and defense industries are leading in the use of advanced manufacturing. Aerospace manufacturing technologies are consistently making headway in the future of automation and production. Aerospace involves some unique challenges for traditional manufacturers such as environmental conditions and common use.
The need for lightweight, durable, and reliable parts and materials makes advanced manufacturing within the aerospace sector essential. Below are four key technologies implemented within aerospace manufacturing.
Additive manufacturing or 3D printing is transforming the aerospace industry. With organizations like NASA funding additive manufacturing initiatives, others are following suit. The pros for 3D printing in aerospace are vast. Additive manufacturing allows for streamlined designs, the strengthening of materials, and also helps in reducing weight. Commercial airlines also depend on additive manufacturing to circumvent constraints on supply chains and limited warehouse space.
On top of the practical ground-level uses of additive manufacturing in aerospace, it also allows for innovative projects. The Perseverance rover contains 11 3D-printed parts including the MOXIE system which effectively created oxygen on Mars.
Another aerospace manufacturing technology key to the industry is robotics. Robots are essential to this industry because they not only create consistency in quality on the shop floor but they also can perform non-destructive ultrasonic testing and metrology inspections. On top of their accuracy, robots also allow for actual heavy lifting and transportation of aerospace structures.
Laser beam welding provides a concentrated beam of heat which allows for deep welds both rapidly and with high precision. This is important because laser welding efficiently and effectively reduces weight and improves corrosion. By reducing the amount of sealing and simplifying designs, laser welding has become a flexible and dynamic solution within manufacturing.
Aerospace manufacturing relies heavily on high quality composite materials. Advanced polymers and certain additives are often key to enhancing the strength, flexibility, and temperature resistance within aerostructures. Composite materials and additive manufacturing often go hand-in-hand in aerospace manufacturing processes because they can be printed and formed immediately. Reducing weight is also a major goal within this industry and this wouldn’t be possible without the addition of composite materials.
To learn more about advanced manufacturing within the aerospace and defense industries – attend AeroDef in Long Beach, California – November 16th – 18th, 2021.