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How to Choose the Right Machining Company for the Aerospace Industry

Almost every sector in the economy uses fabricated metals. The rise in demand for these products has led to the growth of the fabrication industry. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that this growth will add over 12,000 jobs over the next decade.

While the industry is expected to grow, selecting the right metal for your project can be challenging. The amount of different options to consider doesn’t help the situation, either. So, where do you start?

Thin Metal Sales offer various metals including stainless steel, thin aluminum strips, copper and brass metals. These metals play a vital role in aerospace engineering.

When selecting the ideal metal, you have to be cautious. Ensure you understand the respective properties of these metals. For instance, thin aluminum strips have a low density which makes it ideal for lightweight applications. Further, it increases in strength when exposed to low temperatures. Combining aluminum with other elements like copper, magnesium, and silicon forms stronger combined metals.

When using these metals for aerospace engineering applications, you should understand the machining of the parts. Better yet, you need a machining company that produces instrumental aerospace components. Here are the basic tips to consider when selecting a machining company.

1. Its Technological Capability

High precision aerospace components play a vital role in the operation of an aircraft. Most of these components are “life-critical,” which is why they require precise specifications. In the entire process, quality is prioritized as these parts are going to different areas including the landing gear and jet engines. Therefore, there is no room for mistakes.

Machining high-quality components require the use of state-of-the-art equipment. Be sure to check the technology used to avoid engaging under-equipped machining experts. If possible, the machining expert should have the following:

  • High-quality machines capable of processing large volumes of metal faster and seamlessly.
  • Multi-tasking capabilities that facilitate multiple machining processes in a single operation. It helps improve reliability in the production of aerospace parts.

Engaging a machining company with the required in-house technology reduces the lead time and improves the supply chain to provide consistent and quality parts.

2. High Quality and Precision

Making a mistake is impermissible in the production of aerospace parts. Quality and precision are crucial considerations that require great attention. But how will you know that the machinist can deliver thin aluminum strips, and other components consistently?

  • Look for a firm with great experience and reputation in the manufacture of aerospace components or parts.
  • The extent and length of the firm’s supply chain is also a consideration. Engage a company that has a reliable source of raw materials. This ensures you get your deliveries on time.

3. Check the Internal Operational Excellence

The internal operations of your ideal machining partner affect all the output operations. Such include timely delivery of your thin aluminum strips.

Other than the equipment in use, workforce productivity plays a major role in ensuring your needs and wants are met. Without these people, the equipment you get cannot offer any competitive edge.

4. Reliability and Cost Effectiveness

As a manufacturer, you want to get all the necessary parts on time. Any delay on a single component slows down the production process. Such encounters make it impossible for buyers to meet their customer’s requirements.

Dealing with correctly machined parts accelerates the speed of production by saving inspection time and reducing buyer issues. However, to enjoy such benefits, you must work with the right machining company.

Aerospace Materials: A Historical Breakdown

From aluminum to thin steel sheets to combined metals, the aerospace industry has seen a lot of changes in manufacturing materials. This article will give you a brief historical breakdown of the different materials used in the aerospace manufacturing industry.

Aerospace Manufacturing: Early Years vs. Today

In earlier years, aluminum was the primary metal used in aircraft manufacturing since the metal was lightweight, relatively inexpensive, and very modern at the time. The metal was also very practical since it was malleable and ductile and easy to cut through. Almost 40 years ago, aluminum made up almost 70% of an aircraft, while composites and combined metals, which were relatively new materials at the time, made up about 7% of the craft. Aluminum came in thin sheet metal strips that were later welded and forged to make the fuselage, main engine components and other parts of the plane. Currently, the use of aluminum has drastically reduced to almost 20% because of the entry of combined metals, composites, and carbon fiber into the aerospace industry. In contrast to aluminum, these newer entries are very lightweight and strong and have broad applications in the more aesthetic and less functional parts of a plane like the paneling.

Aluminum still makes up a large portion of the engine and other vital components because it has one very important property. The thin metal strips strike the proper balance between light-weight and heat resistance, making it suitable for engine parts that generate a lot of heat but still light enough to make the craft fuel-efficient.

Steel and the Aerospace Industry

Steel has many diverse applications in a lot of industries, especially in aerospace manufacturing. The US spends about $30 million on steel metals annually, putting stainless steel amongst the metals with the most revenue in the country. The metal which comes in thin steel sheet batches is essential for many aerospace manufacturing companies for two reasons. First, it is resistant to oxidation even at high temperatures and corrosion, and second, they’ll maintain the same mechanical integrity even at low or high-temperature extremes. These attributes make thin steel sheet a very versatile material for a lot of aircraft parts depending on their grade.

AISI 304 and AISI 304L for example of austenitic steel is used to make fuel tanks while AISI 316 and AISI 321 are used for the more high-temperature parts like the exhaust, engine and other structural parts. For the more ambient parts, manufacturers prefer ferritic steel AISI 430 and Autentisic steel AISI 304 for their non-corrosive properties. Just like aluminum, steel comes in thin steel sheet batches that are molded into plane parts and welded into the plane.

New Materials in the Field

When it comes to metals, the term new may not actually mean a new entry. Some of these metals and their alloys have been around for decades, but engineers are finding new ways to combine them or form them to make them extremely cost-effective, light-weight, or durable hence the term new. Titanium 5553 is a perfect example of a relatively fresher entry into the aerospace scene because of its strength and resistance properties. Alcoa, which is also a new alloy, can be found in oxidizers and fuel tanks on both aircraft and space crafts.

The extensive use of metals in aerospace is only growing larger by the decade. Though the future of aerospace is uncertain, what is certain is things are only going to get better.

A Short Beginner’s Guide to the Benefits of Metal Fabrication

copper sheet metal for saleMetal fabrication pays a big role in the economy. Consider that there were almost 138,900 sheet metal workers in the U.S. in 2016 alone. The metal fabrication industry not only provides jobs to thousands of people but also plays a big role in day to day activities. How? Let’s take a quick look. But first, we need to review some basics about metal fabrication.

What is Metal Fabrication?

Metal fabrication is the development of thin sheet metal so that it can follow specific shapes. The entire process involves shaping, stamping, folding, cutting, and welding. Sheet metal is normally a quarter of an inch or less, which is important because the metal sheet needs to be pliable so that it can assume different shapes according to the user requirements. Metal fabricators are highly skilled and are trained to manipulate the metal with a surgeon’s precision. When you see a copper sheet metal for sale sign, you should know that the metal has gone through a delicate fabrication process.

Understanding the Fabrication Process

The fabrication process starts with selecting the correct method. Choosing the right method depends on several factors including the thin metal sheet’s intended use, whether it should be a stainless steel sheet metal, and the metals that will make the metal sheet.

Copper sheet metal for sale is popular in the electric industry due to its flexibility and ability to conduct electricity. The sheets are also resistant to corrosion making them ideal for plumping equipment, roofing materials, and shipbuilding.

For instance, if the end product is for shipbuilding, the main metals used are copper and brass. Generally, the fabrication process involves cutting, casting, forging, drilling, turning, and extrusion as the basic process. However, secondary finishing might be required if the part requires to be joined with other metal sheets.

The Importance of Metal Fabrication

Metal has long been known for its properties like structural strength and longevity. Here are some benefits of fabricating metals.

  1. Increased strength: Metal’s resistance to being pulled apart makes it important for materials like screws and wires. It is tough and has great strength, and at the same time, it is easy to manipulate metal and bend it to any shape.
  2. Better than plastic: The main competitor to metal is plastic. However, even if the plastic is good in some applications, it cannot be compared to metal. Metal is durable and has a higher resistance to heat compared to plastic.
  3. Appealing quality: Metal is strong and looks great. This aesthetic quality makes it one of the most sought after building materials all over the world.
  4. Heat resistance: Metal can withstand a wide range of temperatures. If the fabricator accounted for expansion, it is not likely that heat can destroy a metal part.
  5. Cost-efficiency: When produced in high volumes, the cost of production is relatively low. Metal fabricating machines are capable of replicating the procedures. Therefore, it is possible to produce many sheets of metal at a low cost per unit.
  6. Versatility: Metal is capable of withstanding many manufacturing processes such as welding, forging, peening, and many more. Therefore, it is possible to come up with many shapes. No matter which geometrical shape is required, metal is usually the material of choice.

Applications

Fabricated metal is used in many ways. Copper sheet metal for sale can be used in many applications including creating brass or phosphor bronze.

  1. Motor vehicle industry: Vehicles are made of many materials, but the main material is metal. For instance, the chassis is aluminum, and without metal, vehicles would not have proper structural integrity. About 7% of copper sheet metal for sale is used in the motor industry.
  2. Tools: Almost everything we use in our daily lives would not exist without metal. Nail drills, vehicles, spades, saws and many more are as a result of metal fabrication.
  3. Laptop and smartphone shells: Phones and computers are as a result of metal fabrication. The sleek laptop and smartphone cases are made of metal.
  4. Kitchenware: Almost everything in the kitchen is made of metal.
  5. Aerospace: Many of aircraft components are made of metal. Designing an aircraft is not a simple task, and one cannot compromise structural integrity. The components must withstand a wide range of temperatures, high pressures, and chemical exposure.

Now that you know a little more about metal fabrication, you just might start seeing more of these things in your day to day life.

Thin Metal Strips: Five Uses for Sheet Metal

thin metal stripsMost of us are familiar with sheet metal. This is metal that has been cut into thin metal strips. It is quite a versatile material because it is a great insulator and very pliable. Here are five industries that make good use of thin metal strips of the versatile material, sheet metal.

1. Transportation

Sheet metal is used in the transportation industry in many ways. Primarily, it is used to manufacture car bodies. It is also used to manufacture railroad cars, and airplanes, including metal wings.

2. Architecture

Thin metal strips of sheet metal are fantastic roofing materials. An entire metal roof can be the focal architectural point of a building design. There is a practical aspect to sheet metal as a roofing material, as well. Flashing and rain gutters are often made of sheet metal, as are conductor pipes that serve to direct water away from a building. Combined metals of copper and brass, for example, also add rich aesthetic appeal to a design as well as being efficient and functional. For example, the Chrysler building in New York City is covered in stainless steel sheet metal!

3. Jewelry

Silver, gold, and platinum jewelry often contain thin metal strips, sometimes of combined metals. But what are combined metals? Combined metals are actually an alloy, which is a substance created when metals are combined with other materials that are non-metallic. The result is usually an increase in the hardness and strength of the metal. That is why combined metals are great for jewelry, because using them strengthens the jewelry and preserves the luster of the pieces.

4. Fire Prevention

Thin metal strips which are combined to create pieces of sheet metal are excellent fire retardant materials. Sheet metal is extremely fire resistant. It can be used as an insulator in furnaces and in ductwork. In addition, when used as a wall covering, the sheets can be designed and patterned to resemble brickwork, which increases its aesthetic appeal.

5. Medical Equipment

The strength, durability, and lightweight creations that result from precise sheet metal fabrication make it fantastic for use in the medical field. MRI equipment, operating tables, ultrasound machines, nuclear medicine cabinets, and more are all made from custom sheet metal fabrication. The result is equipment that is reliable and yields results of the highest quality.

There are many more examples of how sheet metal is used in manufacturing and industry, but these five give a good idea of the breadth and scope of the productivity and versatility that sheet metal offers. And because of these factors, it has a huge impact on the economy, too. Currently, $30 billion of revenue is created by the sheet metal industry. With statistics like these, it’s apparent that the sheet metal industry is a very strong and important aspect of American manufacturing and production.

Why Manufacturers Should Make the Switch to Recycled Metal

copper and brass

There are some great benefits to utilizing recycled metal, and right now 40% of steel production in the world is doing just that. However, that number could become greater if more manufacturers decided to make the switch from new to recycled materials. This would have a great impact on things like resources, energy use, and even production costs. Stainless steel, as well as copper and brass, can all be reused while maintaining a viable level of durability.

Quality and Affordability

Reclaimed metals such as brass and copper maintain a large percentage of their original durability and value when they are redistributed. This means that you are still receiving quality materials, but usually at a more affordable price. The price difference isn’t always drastic, but it does make a difference when you are buying large amounts of thin sheet metal or thin aluminum strips. You don’t have to sacrifice the durability or life of your materials to cut back a little on costs.

Energy Efficiency

Mining new metals for manufacturing purposes uses up a considerable amount of energy. The more efficient choice is to use recycled metals because this can use upwards of 60% less energy. This also helps to cut back on greenhouse gas emissions and gives already mined materials a second life. Up to 90% of energy can be saved by recycling copper alone.

Resource Conservation

Metals are a finite resource. However, materials such as copper and brass have infinite recyclable lives. This means that resources that are likely to eventually run out can be turned into infinite resources through the use of recycling. With the metal fabrication industry only continuing to grow, this an important factor to consider. If materials are continuously used more and more but aren’t replaced, the world will eventually run short of its resources. This will cause costs to rise and raise competition between manufacturing facilities.

With the ability to infinitely recycle already mined metals, it is possible for companies all over the world to utilize these benefits. Consumers can also bring forth these changes by switching from plastic to metal and recycling items such as aluminum cans. This allows for these materials to be reused in manufacturing processes and will eventually create a sustainable cycle.

How to Choose a Stainless Steel Sheet Provider Near You

ams 5510Are you looking for a new supplier for your durable, stainless steel sheets? The stainless steel market is flourishing and it is important to find the right supplier to meet your unique business needs.

Per the Grand View Research stainless steel trend report, the global stainless steel market is growing. In 2018, it was valued at close to 94 billion and it is expected to grow at 5% annually through 2025. This rising demand will be driven by several key industries including petroleum, automotive, building and construction. Stainless steel is also used in the manufacturing of a variety of products for both commercial and government applications.

Stainless steel is known for its preferable corrosion and stain resistance. In addition, compared to other building materials, it has low maintenance costs. Many manufacturers of large, durable elements with few detailed features use the ams 5510 and other stainless steel sheets.

Did you know that stainless steel is recyclable? More than 60% of stainless steel, more than 80 million tons, is recycled in North America yearly. This is fantastic for the environment.

Your objective should be to find a supplier that is an expert in every variation and grade of stainless steel and combined metals. A reliable supplier will offer brass and copper, the ams 5510, the 300 series and 17-7 precipitation hardened steel.

The Grand View Research stainless steel, 2018 trend report mentioned the popularity of the 300 series. This series is composed of between 18 percent and 30 percent of chromium and between 6 percent and 20 percent of nickel. The product’s popularity is driven by its high corrosion and high temperature resistance, as compared to the 200 grade stainless steel.

Some of the more popular stainless steel and thin metal strips options are:

  • The ams 5510 annealed
  • The ams 5517 quarter hard
  • The ams 5518 half hard
  • The ams 5519 full hard
  • The astm a666

A reputable thin steel sheet supplier will be happy to assist you with any job, large or small. They will offer stainless steel sheet quantities from a few pounds to many thousand pounds.

An industry leading combined metals supplier will stay up to date with the newest metal trends and be able to advise its customers accordingly. You must also check to see if a stainless supplier is ROHS compliant and ISO 9001 certified.

Thin Sheet Metal: What Is it and What Is it Used For?

thin sheet metalThin sheet metal is one of the most commonly used materials throughout construction. In fact, it’s used across so many different industries it’s likely the most widely-produced construction material in the world. And there’s a reason for that. Let’s take a look at a few different industries that use thin sheet metal and why it’s so popular.

What Industries Use Sheet Metal Most Often?

As we said before, there are many different industries that make use of sheet metal, Whether it’s stainless steel, thin aluminum strips, or copper brass, here are a few industries that make frequent use of this material.

  • Automotive – The automotive industry uses sheet metal to make the bodies of cars. The bodies of trailers, RVs, and other vehicles also make use of this material during fabrication.
  • Aerospace – Planes wouldn’t get very far without sheet metal. In fact, most of a plane is covered in protective sheet metal. This is particularly important for parts like the wings and fuselages.
  • Construction – Sheet metal is incredibly important in the construction industry. From ducts to roof flashing and gutters, this is an essential building material for homes and commercial buildings alike.
  • Equestrian – Though this particular use of sheet metal is strictly decorative, it’s still interesting! The equestrian industry typically uses sheet metal to create decorative breastplates and other tack items for horses.

Why Use Sheet Metal?

Sheet metal comes with a whole host of benefits. The first of which is how easy it is to transport this material. Sheet metal is lightweight and can be conveniently stacked. That means shipping is no problem, even in large quantities.

Sheet metal is also very weather resistant as a result of the chemical solution it’s treated with post-fabrication. This chemical solution helps prevent corrosion and even helps with UV resistance. This also means sheet metal is extremely durable. In fact, many homeowners choose metal roofing as a direct result of its durability.

The most commonly purchased metals include aluminum sheets and stainless steel. In sheet form, these metals have a whole host of good uses.