Aerospace Manufacturing: Trends to Look Out For in 2016 and Beyond

Aerospace manufacturing has long been ahead of the curve in relation to the industrial sector at large. Many innovations we’ve seen in technology have gotten their start in aerospace research & development labs. For this reason, it’s important to keep track of new opportunities and breakthroughs in this sector. Here, we’ve outlined some of the top aerospace trends making waves.

The Rise of Aerogel:

Even though Aerogel was invented back in the 1930s, it couldn’t really capture the commercial flight market because of prohibitive costs. But Transparency Market Research (TMR) predicts a much awaited equalizing in which this low density and low thermal conductivity compound will be able to go head to head with conventional insulation material like foam and fiber with a whopping 85% dip in prices.

Aerogel had its moment of glory when it found use in the 2003 space missions which transported the rovers Spirit and Opportunity to Mars for a deeper probing of the Red planet. Aerogels can be made of Silica, metal oxide, carbon and polymers and are excellent at insulating sensitive aircraft parts from heat, vibrations and acoustic distortions.

The Aerogel market is expected to hit $1 billion in 2023. And from 2017 onwards a rapid rise in the volume of this compound used will render air travel safer and more comfortable.

Ceramic Fiber Reinforced Matrices:

CMC (Ceramic Matrix Composites) is a boon for air travel. They are more robust than their ordinary ceramic counterparts which tend to fracture under the pressure of high thermo-loads. The temperature in the engine of an aircraft rises steeply. Only ceramic fiber reinforced matrices can tolerate the searing heat and do not display signs of evident damage. They tend to last longer than other materials that might be used in these extreme conditions. GE has taken an initiative and is pioneering the use of new tooling concepts and designs for CMC components. Like Aerogels, Ceramic Matrix Composites are also light and durable. This is good news for aerospace manufacturing as the vulnerabilities associated with air travel are being eliminated by replacing traditional agents with more advanced alternatives.

3D Printing in Propulsion Systems:

Aerospace giant Airbus Safran Launchers is at the forefront of a drive to set up an international research and experiment program that will delve into the possibilities of the use of additive manufacturing or 3D printing in the creation of air craft propulsion systems. Its incorporation in the propulsion set-up process can mean greater efficiency and better output (thrust) for the systems.

The sky is the limit for aerospace manufacturing. TE-CO Workholding is proud to contribute to these innovations with market leading vises, tooling components, CMM fixturing & spring-loaded devices for use in aerospace manufacturing processes.

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