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Advancing Aerospace Manufacturing With CAD/CAM

Advancing Aerospace Manufacturing With CAD/CAM

Advancing Aerospace Manufacturing With CAD/CAM

CNC Software (Mastercam) explains how today’s CAD/CAM can help you succeed in the increasingly competitive aircraft component manufacturing space.

Innovation in the aerospace industry is experiencing a resurgence of sorts, with the idea of tourist flights into space becoming more of a reality with the new technologies coming out of Blue Origin, SpaceX, and Virgin Galactic. From space age materials to tiny, tight-tolerance components, to cutting-edge engine and propulsion technologies, aerospace manufacturers have always been the visionaries of innovative design. Innovative design brings with it, however, the need for innovative manufacturing practices. A design is no good unless it can be turned into an actual part. 

Machining technology has evolved ten-fold since that first rocket ship was built. As has the computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) software to power those machines. Here, we shall discuss the latest innovations in CAM software and how the new functionality helps push the machines to their full potential, yielding parts never before imaginable in record time.

Commercial Aviation Industry: Current Industry Snapshot

As of January 2020, the global commercial aviation industry, with a market value of nearly $5 trillion, was expected to grow slowly but steadily thanks to soaring travel demand, increasing globalisation, rising gross domestic product, liberalisation of air transport, and urbanisation. However, the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting disruption to the global economy have led to a “wait and see” approach to determine the full impact on aerospace manufacturing and whether or not it will make an already highly competitive situation even more so.

While order backlogs decreased slightly with the reduction in fleets, it remains to be seen as to whether these orders will be filled in the near-term. For now, the aerospace industry is contending with the fallout of the COVID-19 crisis and adjusting as necessary.

Industry Challenges: Aircraft Component Supply

Aerospace component manufacturing is one of the most demanding industries and will be for the foreseeable future. Part design and development innovations have exploded since the order boom first began about 10 years ago. New materials and effective, profitable production processes have also followed suit. 

However, despite the fact that aerospace component manufacturing is more high-tech than ever, the pressure is still on for quick turnaround times to meet high delivery rates. Although the current statistics show a slowdown in orders, the production and delivery backlogs are still very real. Generally speaking, the supplier must take a systematic approach with the optimal CNC machine tools, spindles, fixtures, cutting tools, coolant systems, controls, and software. 

How CAD/CAM Software Can Benefit Aircraft Component Manufacturing

Focusing on one aspect of the system, CAD/CAM software, is one area of opportunity for improved aircraft component production. One might not initially think that it is a vital aspect of success in making aircraft components. However, it is an important behind-the-scenes player in producing the complex parts specified by aerospace manufacturers.

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