Category Archive: Capabilities
Capability: Turnkey Program Manufacturing Services
With our vertically integrated manufacturing capabilities, Primus Aerospace offers turnkey program manufacturing of high-precision, high-complexity machined products for the aerospace, defense, and deep space industries. We manage the entire manufacturing program, from engineering and design to tooling, multi-axis precision machining, assembly, and specialty processes. Our services incorporate robust, end-to-end quality assurance and we administer program-specific inventory systems that align with custom workflows and stock control policies.
As a technology-oriented company, we engineer solutions that integrate intelligent product design with sophisticated manufacturing processes. We operate a state-of-the-art production facility housing high-value machining centers capable of reliable and repeatable production of critical parts. With equipment assets that include 7-axis mills and 9-axis turning centers, our capabilities include complex milling and turning as well as thin-walled machining down to .010” wall thickness. Along with microtube machining and microtube bending, we also perform hard turning and milling up to 70 Rockwell C. We work with all primary aerospace alloys, such as aluminum, titanium, Hastelloy®, and Inconel®, and we also machine parts from advanced engineering composites. We uphold dimensional tolerances and repeatability up to ±0.0001” with measurement accuracy to .00001” on parts as large as 20.0” in diameter and 84.0” in length.
Our services platform incorporates all aspects of mechanical and electrical assembly as well as value-added processes such as EDM, lapping, grinding, welding, and heat treating. We handle any surface finish and deburring requirements. Inside our climate-controlled Quality Assurance Laboratory, trained quality inspectors leverage a full array of test and measurement equipment to verify products comply with specifications. Accredited to both ISO 9001:2008 and AS 9100 Rev C, our quality management program supports FEMA, PPAP, and customer-specific risk analysis, and we maintain robust traceability documentation for raw materials, machining processes, outside processes, assembly, and all other critical services.
With our program management expertise, value engineering, and robust manufacturing systems, we help companies reduce lead-time and improve product quality while reducing costs and simplifying supply chain management. Contact us directly for a consultation.
||Engineering and Design:
Assembly And Specialty Processes:
· Gear Cutting
Inventory Stocking Arrangements:
· Vendor Managed Inventory
· Safety Stock
Dimensional Tolerances and Repeatability To 0.0001”. Measurement Of Tolerances Up to 10 Millionths.
Milling Size Capability Up to 84” Lg.
Turning Size Capability Up to 20” Dia.
||5-Axis Aerospace Machining
Casting & Forging Machining
Exotic Material Machining
Hard Turning and Milling
Additive manufacturing (3D printing)
· Contour Turning
· Form Turning
· Taper Turning
· Straight Turning
|.060” to 23” in Rotation
|.060” to 84.0” in Length
|.060” to 22.0” in Diameter
||.010” Wall Thickness Achieved on Cylindrical Housings, Deep Pocket Milling and Micro-Tubing
|Hard Turning and Milling
|Up To 70 Rockwell C
|Dimensional Tolerances and Repeatability
|Measurement Of Tolerances
|Up to 10 Millionths
|Mechanical Assembly Capabilities
NAS / MS Hardware
|Electrical Assembly Capabilities
Cables / Harnesses
Conductivity / Continuity Testing
|Examples Of Manufactured Products
||Castings & Forgings – Machining of Aluminum, Steel And Titanium
Safing & Arming Systems
Passenger / Crew Seating
Long Glass Fiber Reinforced (LGFR) Plastic
||Quoted On Job-by-Job Basis
Emergency Services Available
Rush Services Available
||Six Sigma Certification
||AS 9100 D
Aerospace Industry Standard
International Organization For Standardization
National Aerospace And Defense Contractors Accreditation Program
What is honing?
Honing is mechanical finishing process used by aerospace machine shops and outside processors to achieve a precision surface on a metal part. Hones use superabrasives, also known as a honing stone, to a specific finish over the entirety of a metal surface. These abrasive stones are configured on a tool assembly to provide consistent abrasion to the work piece.. Honing is also called bore finishing, as it’s most commonly conducted on cylindrical surfaces as a finishing technique.
Honing is conducted with honing stones or with wire brushes that provide a very specific level of abrasion to the metal work piece. Honing stones are generally an aluminum oxide or silicon carbide abrasive material, which is bonded with resin.
Where did honing originate?
Modern honing techniques date back to the 1940’s with the foundation of Superior Hone in Elkhart, IN. The original intend of mechanical honing equipment was to deglaze automotive cylinder bores, but as the technique was perfected, additional applications presented themselves.
What are common types of mechanical honing equipment?
- Vertical hone – Vertical honing machines use a drive shaft that is oriented vertically and moves along the work piece in an up and down motion. An example of a vertical hone would be the Ohio Tool Works PowerHone. Primus Aerospace utilizes an onsite Barnes 3010 honer to provide in-house honing as part of a turn-key manufacturing solution.
- Horizontal hone – Horizontal honing machines are laid out across a floor footprint where the drive shaft moves forward and backward through a work piece. An example of a horizontal hone would be the Ohio Tool Works VersaHone. Sunnen is another manufacturer that specializes in honing equipment for vehicle engine applications.
Honing machines also differ in their capability to handle various bore diameters and part lengths / heights. Primus’s honing capability specialize in parts that are ideally used for aerospace hydraulic reservoirs and cylinders.
What is single pass vs multi pass honing?
Most honing applications take multiple passes (known as stroke honing) to achieve the desired surface finish and depth. Specific applications, such as engine crank arms or cam bores, require single pass honing to ideal performance.
Why is honing performed in aerospace and defense applications?
Honing allows a manufacturer to achieve a precision surface finish that is critical for some aerospace applications, such as hydraulic systems. Aircraft manufacturers and tier one suppliers design hydraulic systems as part of the control system. In addition to aerospace control systems, honed aerospace parts are found in pumps, valve sleeves, accumulators, fuse pins, and landing gear components. Parts are honed to reduce friction, remove burrs, and increase equipment dependability over it’s service life. In specific aerospace applications, the inner bores of gears or weapon barrels are honed.
What is the advantage of a machine shop that has integrated honing?
While many aerospace and defense machine shops offer honing as part of their production sequence, very few have the honing capability inside their company. When aerospace machine shops produce a part, the production sequence may require additional capabilities (such as honing, painting, precision grinding) to meet the customer’s build-to-print requirements. When those capabilities are not organic to the part manufacturer, they will utilize outside processors (also known as OP Houses) to perform the specialized work. More sophisticated machine shops have additional value added services inside the company, which allows them to expedite priority parts and ensures adherence to a single quality management system (QMS), generally at the AS9100 level. Primus Aerospace is constantly adding additional capabilities, such as wire EDM, honing, and grinding, to it’s ability to provide turn-key manufacturing solutions for aerospace and defense parts.
Does Primus offer honing to aerospace & defense customers?
Yes! Primus Aerospace offers honing as a valued added service to it’s build-to-print aerospace part production service. Primus does not offer today, stand alone honing as a separate service to other local machine shops, but could in the future.
This article provides an overview of the differences between additive and subtractive manufacturing, 3D printing technologies, 3D printing applications for aerospace and defense parts, and a look at how Primus utilizes titanium printing to support customers.
What is the difference between additive and subtractive manufacturing techniques?
Additive manufacturing, also known as 3D printing, is the process of creating an object, such as a critical satellite component, using material deposition and numerous post processing techniques. This is different than traditional subtractive manufacturing in one main way. Instead of taking a block of raw material and using lathes, mills, and CNC machines to remove material in a controlled manner, material is selectively added to a blank slate to build a component from the ground up. Subtractive manufacturing typically
uses cutting tools such as end mills, boring bars, or drill bits to remove matter from a block, bar, or slug of raw material. The tool (or the material if the machine in question is a lathe) is spun at a rapid rate and is ran through the material at computer programmed locations where stock needs to be removed. Through 3 and 5 axis machining, the work can be spun along various axes to remove material to form complex shapes. One alternative to subtractive manufacturing is 3D printing.
This seemingly new technology can be traced back to 1925. A patent was issued for the use of arc welding techniques to create sculptures and decorative articles by depositing welded beads of metal on top of one another to form baskets and other household items. 3D printing first found its use in manufacturing in 1982 when United Technologies Research Center filed a patent for a “Method for Fabricating Articles be Sequential Layer Deposition.” Initially, Additive Manufacturing was only used for rapid prototyping to develop a model for parts to be later created using subtractive methods. It wasn’t until the 2000’s that Additive Manufacturing began to achieved production-grade parts primarily for the medical implant industry. Since then, additive manufacturing has crossed over to the Aerospace and Defense supply chain for making high precision, low volume parts and components.
What are the key types of additive manufacturing / 3D printing?
- Stereolithography – This method utilizes liquid plastic to create 3D objects through layer-by-layer deposition. Liquid resign is collected in a vat with a clear bottom. UV light is used to trace a pattern in the vat and selectively cure the resin. The object is dragged up by a platform to allow the part to grow from the base down . This type of 3D printing is primarily used for rapid prototyping as it is too slow to produce plastic parts in a cost-effective manner.
- Fused Deposition Modeling – Fused Deposition Modeling feeds a thermoplastic filament into an extruder. This plastic is then deposited onto a plate to build a part layer-by-layer from the ground up. This is the most common type of 3D printing and is often seen in entry level printers. This method is also used for rapid prototyping and can be used along with Stereolithography to create negative molds for metal casting.
- Sheet Lamination– Sheet Lamination utilizes a cutting device (usually a laser) to slice through thin layers of material. These cuts are then deposited layer-by-layer and glued together to form parts. This strategy can be used with plastics, wood, and even metal to create prototypes and production level parts.
- Powder Bed Fusion– This strategy employs a laser or electron beam to weld or sinter layers of powdered metal together to from a part. Powder bed fusion is commonly employed by the Aerospace, Defense, and medical industries to create intricate, low volume production parts. The printer used by Primus Aerospace falls under this category.
What types of aerospace projects are best performed on a 3D printer?
- Prototype parts – Producing 3D printed parts requires very little setup, additional tooling or fixtures to create working parts for prototype or R&D applications. This allows design modifications to be verified with minimal effort. Engineers may 3D print a part for a prototype but later transition to precision machined parts as the program enters production phase.
- Complex designs – 3D printing allows designers to create parts that could not be produced with traditional subtractive manufacturing techniques. While aerospace parts designers should not throw out the book on design for manufacturability (DFC), some applications do require designs that cannot be accomplished on a 5-axis CNC mill (such as integrated internal pathways and complex internal features).
- Lightweight requirements – Additive manufacturing allows the incorporation of weight saving features and innovative designs that cannot be traditionally machined, such as complex lattice structures and intricate hollow structures. For example, aerospace engineers designing parts for a commercial satellite (where weight represents a high-payoff Value Engineering effort) can shed costly weight without sacrificing strength.
- Low production volumes – One drawback of 3D printing is its part production time. For a powder bed fusion system, builds take at least one day to print causing this technology to not be applicable for high production parts (yet).…
Additive Manufacturing at Primus Aerospace
Primus primarily uses a Velo3D Sapphire Metal AM Printer for additive manufacturing aerospace projects. This machine is tailored to use powder bed fusion technologies to 3D Print space and satellite parts using a Ti 6Al-4V titanium alloy powder..
ThisThe Velo3D Titanium Printer works by using a vacuum powered contactless recoater to deposit titanium powder over a build plate. The recoater dumps material over the plate, and then uses a vacuum to suck up any access metal an
d ensure a consistent layer of powder. Two separate lasers sinter fuse the powder together in a predetermined pattern to methodically form a part from the base up. Fusion is the process of melting a two separate solid components and re-solidifying them together. This is done in layers that are slightly offset from one another to avoid empty space in the finished product. This ensures strength and reliability in precision aerospace parts. This is done on top of a build plate that sits on top of a piston, which lowers the plate to accommodate for each subsequent layer of titanium until the build is complete. The lasers and piston take instructions from Velo’s Flow software. This takes a CAD model of a part, slices it, and creates step by step instructions for the 3D printer to follow.
This machine has the capability to print material at low angles, parts with overhanging features, as well as internal passageways and cavities with little to no support structures. In turn, this decreases the need for post processing and allows primus to manufacture an extremely wide range of components. So far, we have used this machine to create one-piece parts with a high level of complexity, components with internal cooling passages, and thin-walled pressure vessels with an almost unattainable degree of precision.
Primus Aerospace supports aerospace, defense, and space manufacturers with build to print 3D printed titanium parts. Primus is able to combine this innovative 3D printing technology with other valued added services (such as finishing, grinding, or painting) and an aerospace AS9100 certified quality management system.
 3D Printing | An Overview of 3D Printing Technologies (techpats.com)
 3D Printed Lattice Structures and Generative Design • OpenFab PDX
 Velo3D launches its first metal Additive Manufacturing system (metal-am.com)
Images courtesy of Velo3D
The aerospace and defense supply chain produces highly engineered and tightly manufactured parts to support civilian and military applications. Delivering complex aircraft, such as the F-35 advanced fighter or Orion space capsule, requires the transformation of raw materials into finished parts. Aerospace waterjet cutting is one capability that contributes to this value chain.
What is waterjet cutting?
Cutting materials by waterjet utilizes a high-pressure nozzle to direct water and abrasive against a material to be cut. The material sits in a ‘bath’ (also known as the waterjet table) where the sprayed water drains off into. A high-pressure pump feeds a nozzle, that’s controlled by a PC-based controller, to blast water and abrasive through material. Similar to a CNC mill or lathe, a programmer creates a repeatable, exact process on a computer and utilizes that program to make ultra-precise cuts with the cutting center.
How long has waterjet cutting been around?
Waterjet cutting was first invested in the 1930s, with low pressure systems capable of cutting paper. By the 1960s, early waterjet units were capable of 100,000 PSI and could cut aerospace metal parts / shapes. These processes were generally standardized by the 1970s for aerospace and defense part manufacturing. Boeing was one of the first companies to adopt abrasive waterjet cutting for harder materials and deeper cuts.
Why is waterjet cutting important to aerospace part production?
Waterjet cutting is an important part of the aerospace supply chain because it provides a method to cut / rough intricate parts out of large bars of raw material. This process significantly decreases the costly machining portion of part production, decreasing cost to both the manufacturer and customer. Additionally, waterjet technology allows metals with high thermal conductivity (such as aluminum and streel) to be cut with minimal heat transfer.
What can be cut with a water jet?
- Stainless steel
- Cast iron
What waterjet cutting equipment does Primus use?
Primus Aerospace uses an Omax 120X JetMachining Center for its waterjet cutting needs. This allows a cutting envelop of 20 feet long by 10 feet wide by 8 inches deep. Omax machines are known for their high precision and repeatability across a variety of materials. The Omax 120X is a 5-axis waterjet cutting center.
What advantages does waterjet cutting have over traditional machining?
- No heat transfer – modern waterjet systems utilize cold water and do not create the same heat transfer profile as laser or plasma cutters
- Capable of cutting from large bars / plates – waterjet systems can often handle large blocks of raw material to begin cutting roughed parts from. For example, Primus’s cutting center can handle blocks that are up to 200 sqf.
- Minimizes wear on machine tools – roughing unique geometry parts for larger parts allows machine shops to decrease the amount of wear and tear on expensive machine tools. This allows the machine shop to focus on finishing operations, especially then the part contains difficult GD&T.
- No tool wear – Waterjet systems use only high-pressure water and an abrasive additive to perform cutting, meaning there are no tools to wear out during the cutting process.
- Capable of cutting variety of materials – Water-jet systems can cut a large variety of material types (see above) with minimal changes to the cutting center.
- Precision cuts – the computer controlled cutting nozzle of modern cutting centers, such as those from CMS or Omax, enable accuracy down to ±0.0010″
- Maximize yield from large blocks of material – When a skilled operator plans out parts to be cut from the raw material billet, minimal scrap material can be achieved through the use of planning software. The decreases the amount of material that is sent to the scrap yard and increases the yield of good parts.
What materials does Primus generally cut?
As a contract parts manufacturer for the aerospace and defense industries, Primus Aerospace uses waterjet cutting to transform large blocks of raw material into roughed parts for further machining. As part of the company’s support to commercial and government space programs, Primus uses it’s abrasive waterjet center to rough large blocks of titanium.
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