Aluminum military & aerospace machining-The lightest way to decrease your parts' weight ( Military & Aerospace industry prototyping)
With the development of military and aerospace industry, CNC machining has become one of the most important technologies in the manufacturing of military and aerospace products, the design of such parts is becoming more and more complicated and integrated, and also the design new idea has brought new challenges to the CNC machining, it has to go with the trend of high quality, high efficiency and low cost.
The main theme of the modern military and aerospace industry products is light weight and top quality. The shortcomings of plastic parts is the lifetime, therefore the main material for these parts are mainly Aluminum and Magnesium. Aluminum and Magnesium are almost the lightest weight material among metals. As these parts have high quality standard, thus the first requirement for aerospace material is that it needs to comply with AMS standard.
What is AMS standard? ASTM's AMS(aerospace material standards) are instrumental in evaluating materials, components, and devices primarily used in aerospace and aircraft industries. Among the aluminum, Al7075 is definitely meets the AMS specs which is AMS-QQ-A-200/11, for Al6061-T651 and Al2024-T351, currently we are knowing that it meets AMS-QQ-A-200/8 and AMS-QQ-A-200/3 based on the manufacturer of Southwest Aluminum Group. These aluminum materials are widely used on aerospace industry as well as the military, but for military industry except aluminum, we use magnesium a lot as the materials.
Aluminum is the most widely used material on military and aerospace parts as this is light weight and easy to machine, one more thing is that the cost to make a part from this material is the cheapest and easy to do post finish with different colors. From aluminum material, it’s easy to cut by steel tools, with the structures that are not able to reach by the tools such as the undercuts, we will do via EDM, EDM is a process to etching the material little by little until it is same as the design, but the surface after EDM is rough and will need to do sanding smooth a little more to make it smooth and good appearance. For the straight shape design, there is wire cutting process. Normally after CNC machining, the structure that will need wire cutting will do a second machining with that and this process normally requires longer time than CNC, there are fast wire cutting and slow wire cutting, the difference is that slow wire cutting has a higher precision than fast wire cutting, but the cost for slow wire cutting is higher too as time is money.
The most common post finishing for military and aerospace prototypes is anodizing. Anodizing is a process of doing a chem film first to clean the part, and then will apply a sand blasting on the part surface in order to cover some tool marks and imperfections, after finish this step, parts will be put into the anodizing pool for several minutes to get the chemical reaction with the relative colors. Almost every colors can be achieved through anodized process, and the most common one is black anodized and clear anodized. Besides the normal anodized, there is also hard anodized, which is a coating with thicker layers on the parts. And also microarc oxidation for military parts, powder coat especially outdoor powder coat, plating, zinc plating, electropolish, painting and so on.
Military communicators, aerospace seat systems, secure phone
|Aluminum material||Al6061, Al7075, Al5052, Al2024|
|Other materials||Magnisum, Aluminum-Magnisium alloy, Titanium|
|Post finishing||Anodized, painting, hard coating, polish, electropolish|
apply to AMS standard
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