Eyes in the Skies – What’s Driving Aerospace Forward?

New technologies and materials have been revolutionizing just about every industrial sector. The trend toward greater efficiency without sacrificing safety has largely led these new shifts. The aerospace industry is among those facing changes.

The Role of Lightweight Material in Aerospace

In an effort to improve aircraft performance and fuel efficiency, many components are now being made with composite materials. These materials provide the same high-strength characteristics as other materials, but are a lightweight option.

Already, aircraft structures including fuselage, wing parts, nacelles, control surfaces, floor beams and even helicopter rotors are being made with composites. Carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRPs) are by far the most common materials being used in this application.

Why New Materials Require New Tools

Carbide Bur
PFERD FVK/FVKS Style Bur

Because these are newer materials in aircraft design, new tools and processes are needed to work with them. When cutting and machining these composite parts, workers have to be careful to avoid issues like delamination, fiber tearing, or heat damage. Traditional machining is made difficult because CFRP often splinters off into an abrasive dust.

In some cases, the traditional tools of this trade need to be reimagined for this particular material. PFERD’s Aerospace Market Manager, Chad Waltemyer, has been working closely with our product engineers to develop customized abrasive media to cut, grind, and contour these various composites. One example is with carbide burs where tooth geometry and spacing are critical to the performance of the tool.  PFERD FVK/FVKS style burs provide excellent cutting coefficient on most CFRPs for contouring edges.

Finding a Custom Solution for the Aerospace Market

As the Aerospace Market Manager, Chad helps customers get what they need-even if the necessary product doesn’t exist off-the-shelf.  For the past year and a half he’s been working closely with manufacturers in the aerospace industry to understand current trends and the specific requirements for their unique applications.  Communicating those needs to our engineering team allows us to review each application and project and design the perfect product to fit.

Composite Brush
PFERD M-BRAD Composite Brush

Where Aerospace Manufacturing is Heading

As a partner to customers and leader on the shop floor, Chad sees a paradigm shift in deburring applications. Where operators have historically performed this operation via hand tools, he’s now seeing this application increasingly being performed on CNC machines.  He’s sees strong interest and demand for PFERD’s M-BRAD® composite brushes which is ideal for this application. Employing automation to this task has resulted in major cost reductions and processing time – all key objectives in the manufacturing process.

As a leading manufacturer of premium tools and abrasives, we are excited to see what new developments will come about in the aerospace industry.  To learn more about our custom capabilities, feel free to call (262) 255–3200 or email sales@pferdusa.com.

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