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Tool Craft For Aircraft

Tool Craft For Aircraft

Andrei Petrilin, Technical Manager of ISCAR showcases its new developments for aircraft machining of tomorrow.  

In machining aerospace components, the main challenges relate to component materials. Titanium, high-temperature superalloys (HTSA), and creep-resisting steel are difficult to cut and machining is a real bottleneck in the whole aircraft supply chain. Poor machinability of these materials results in low cutting speeds, which significantly reduces productivity and shortens tool life. Both these factors are directly connected with cutting tools. 

In fact, when dealing with hard-to-machine typical aerospace materials, cutting tool functionality defines the existing level of productivity. The truth is, cutting tools in their development lag machine tools, and this development gap limits the capabilities of leading-edge machines in the manufacturing of aerospace components.  

Modern aircraft, especially unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), feature a considerably increased share of composite materials. Effective machining composites demand specific cutting tools, which is the focus of a technological leap in the aerospace industry.

Aircraft-grade aluminum continues to be a widely used material for fuselage elements. It may seem that machining aluminum is simple, however, selecting the right cutting tool is a necessary key to success in high-efficiency machining of aluminum.

A complex part shape is a specific feature of the turbine engine technology. Most geometrically complicated parts of aero engines work in highly corrosive environments and are made from hard-to-cut materials, such as titanium and HTSA, to ensure the required life cycle. A combination of complex shape, low material machinability, and high accuracy requirements are the main difficulties in producing these parts. Leading multi-axis machining centers enable various chip removal strategies to provide complex profiles in a more effective way. But a cutting tool, which comes into direct contact with a part, has a strong impact on the success of machining. Intensive tool wear affects surface accuracy, while an unpredictable tool breakage may lead to the discarding of a whole part. 

A cutting tool – the smallest element of a manufacturing system – turns into a key pillar for substantially improved performance. Therefore, aerospace part manufacturers and machine tool builders are waiting for innovative solutions for a new level of chip removal processes from their cutting tool producers. The solution targets are evident: more productivity and more tool life. Machining complex shapes of specific aerospace parts and large-sized fuselage components demand a predictable tool life period for reliable process planning and a well-timed replacement of worn tools or their exchangeable cutting components.

Coolant jet

In machining titanium, HTSA and creep-resisting steel, high pressure cooling (HPC) is an efficient tool for improving performance and increasing productivity. Pinpointed HPC significantly reduces the temperature at the cutting edge, ensures better chip formation and provides small, segmented chips. This contributes to higher cutting data and better tool life when compared with conventional cooling methods. More and more intensive applying HPC to machining difficult-to-cut materials is a clear trend in manufacturing aerospace components. Understandably, cutting tool manufacturers consider HPC tooling an important direction of development.

ISCAR, one of leaders in cutting tool manufacturing, has a vast product range for machining with HPC. In the last year, ISCAR has expanded its range by introducing new milling cutters carrying “classical” HELI200 and HELIMILL indexable inserts with 2 cutting edges (Fig. 1). This step brings an entire page of history to ISCAR’s product line.

The HELIMILL was modified and underwent changes which led to additional milling families and inserts with more cutting edges. The excellent performance and its close derivatives of the original tools ensured their phenomenal popularity in metalworking. Therefore, by adding a modern HPC tool design to the proven HELIMILL family was a direct response to customer demand and the next logical tool line to develop.

In Turning, ISCAR considerably expanded its line of assembled modular tools comprising of bars and exchangeable heads with indexable inserts. The bars have both traditional and anti-vibration designs and differ by their adaptation: cylindrical or polygonal taper shank. A common feature for the nodular tools is the delivery of internal coolant to be supplied directly to the required insert cutting edge (Fig. 2). The efficient distribution of coolant increases the insert’s tool life by reducing the temperature and improving chip control and chip evacuation; substantially increasing this application line in the aerospace industry.

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Separating Additively Manufactured Aerospace Parts

Separating Additively Manufactured Aerospace Parts

Here’s how Ohnhäuser GmbH is using BEHRINGER GmbH’s 3D bandsaw to accurately separate additively manufactured aerospace parts from the printing plate. 

Additive manufacturing of parts continues to gain a foothold, particularly in applications where typical production techniques reach their limits. One of the clear advantages of 3D printing technology is the seemingly limitless shapes and structures of the creations. Even a moving group of parts can be printed as a complete unit, so there is no need for post-production assembly.

In the last year, BEHRINGER GmbH added two new models to its product portfolio with its new 3D series—the HBE320-523 3D and LPS-T 3D. The high-performance bandsaw machines were developed to separate additively manufactured parts of different shapes and sizes. 

Ohnhäuser GmbH from Wallerstein is primarily known as a contract manufacturer and premium supplier for the aerospace industry. To manage the demands of manufacturing bionically constructed parts, the company expanded its production methods to include additive manufacturing. In the latest stage of development in 3D printing, Ohnhäuser is concentrating on the use of a special titanium powder, optimised for aerospace requirements. As a material, titanium boasts strength characteristics in the range of tempered steel with a comparatively low weight. An EOS M 290 printer is used to generate the 3D metal parts.

After additive manufacturing, the titanium parts must be separated from the printing plate. While carrying out research into a suitable separation process it became clear that only a saw system would make the cut. “We then contacted BEHRINGER to ask what solutions our bandsaw manufacturer could offer” recalls Moritz Färber. “Ohnhäuser had been using a bandsaw machine from BEHRINGER for several years, so we knew the company was a high-quality and reliable manufacturer of saw machines.”

Precision Sawing of a Range of Materials

When it comes to highly-sensitive 3D printing, accurate separation of the part from the printing plate is essential. Deviations in the cut or drifting out of the cutting channel is not permitted, as this would damage either the base plate or the printed parts.

The HBE320-523 3D is based on the already established HBE Dynamic series—featuring robust construction, energy-efficient drive system, and above all, accurate sawing. It cuts the inserted materials with precision to a tolerance of tenths, whether it be steel, aluminium, nickel-based alloys, titanium or plastic. The bandsaw blades can also be quickly and flexibly changed to suit the material that is being sawn. All the machine’s blade-guidance parts are cast in Behringer’s in-house foundry. The grey cast iron dampens vibrations and reduces unpleasant background noise during cutting. All these factors have a positive effect on the sawing process, resulting in high cutting performance and a long bandsaw service life.

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Airbus Expands MRO Footprint In Asia

Airbus Expands MRO Footprint In Asia

Following separate announcements by Asia Digital Engineering Sdn BhD (ADE) and Korea Aviation Engineering & Maintenance Service Ltd. (KAEMS) for Airbus customers in Asia, Mathew George, Ph.D, Analyst, Aerospace, Defense and Security at GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, offers his view:

“AirAsia Group’s ADE and KAI’s KAEMS made separate announcements on the expansion of maintenance, repairs and overhaul (MRO), thus marking an increased footprint for Airbus customers to avail MRO services in Asia. With the pandemic still wreaking havoc, airlines and countries had put on hold the programs to purchase new aircraft and make sure that the lives of the present aircraft be extended safely as much as possible. Countries, including India, actively started to explore MRO services and proposed the possible mechanisms and programs to turn themselves into regional MRO hubs.

According to GlobalData, the military aerospace MRO market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 2.93 percent in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region between 2020 and 2030 and will be valued at US$17.85bn by 2030.

While ADE obtained the approval for base maintenance (hangar or C-Checks) from Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM), KAEMS was able to sign an MoU with Airbus Defense & Space (ADS) for technical support for C-212 and CN-235 aircraft. ADE’s support extends not just to AirAsia fleet of A320, A321 and A330 aircraft, the approval allows it to undertake MRO services for other airlines as well. ADE was also able to secure approvals from India’s DGCA and Indonesia, raising the bar for ADE and Malaysia to provide MRO services for airlines across Southeast Asia.

Governments have shown their resolve to fund upgrade and replacement programs. However, with lockdowns continuing in countries, and increasing cases like India’s still a possibility in other geographies, airlines and governments will continue to focus on sustainment of existing capability. In addition, with long lead times and unexpected delays still a possibility, a lackadaisical approach to MRO is not something anyone can afford.”

 

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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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A New Approach To Aircraft Titanium Machining

A New Approach To Aircraft Titanium Machining

Makino introduces a new approach to overcome the challenges in titanium parts machining for aerospace manufacturers. 

The appeal of Titanium is no mystery. Its material properties of toughness, strength, corrosion resistance, thermal stability and light weight are highly beneficial to the construction of today’s aircraft.

However, aerospace manufacturers producing titanium parts quickly discover the difficulty these material properties present during the machining process. The combination of titanium’s poor thermal conductivity, strong alloying tendency and chemical reactivity with cutting tools are a detriment to tool life, metal-removal rates and ultimately the manufacturer’s profit margin.

Producing titanium parts efficiently requires a delicate balance between productivity and profitability. However, in standard machining practices these two factors share an inverse relationship, meaning greater productivity can come at a higher cost due to rapid tool degradation, while the desire to increase profit margins by extending tool life may result in decreased metal-removal rates and extended cycle times.

Overcoming this issue requires a new approach by Makino in which all components of the machining process are developed and integrated specific to the material’s unique challenges—requiring a reassessment of even the most basic machine tool design considerations. This was the concept for the new T-Series 5-axis horizontal machining centers with ADVANTiGE technologies, and the results speak for themselves—four times the productivity and double the tool life.

Changing the Rules

In the past, and even in some shops today, titanium is typically machined using multi-spindle gantries and machines with geared head spindles. While these technologies have been effective, the growing complexity of part geometries and required accuracies have brought forth several limitations, including machine and spindle vibration, poor chip removal and limited tooling options.

In support of the aerospace industry’s demand for titanium, Makino established a Global Titanium Research and Development Center, managed by a select group of engineers with knowledge and experience around titanium in both academic and industrial backgrounds. 

The company’s breakthrough, ADVANTiGE, is a comprehensive set of technologies that includes an extra-rigid machine construction, Active Damping System, high-pressure, high-flow coolant system, Coolant Microsizer System and an Autonomic Spindle Technology.  Each technology is designed specifically for the titanium machining process, providing dramatic improvements in both tool life and productivity.

Creating a Rigid Platform

Rigidity of a machine tool is one of the single most important components in titanium machining, heavily influencing the equipment’s stable cutting parameters. 

Machines designed with low rigidity offer limited stable cutting zones, dramatically reducing the maximum level of productivity that can be achieved across all spindle speeds. To increase the productivity of a low-rigidity machine, manufacturers have only one option: taking lighter cuts and increasing spindle speeds, resulting in dramatic reductions in tool life.

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Advancing MRO Solutions With Additive Manufacturing

Advancing MRO Solutions With Additive Manufacturing

ST Engineering and EOS have collaborated to introduce multiple AM solutions for the aerospace sector—from qualified systems and materials to 3D print certified parts that are more durable and more effective in operations.

ST Engineering’s Aerospace sector has been building its portfolio in virtual inventory to enhance customers’ air operation performance, including solutions for commonly damaged aircraft components. Printing on demand helps eliminate waste when platforms are retired, reducing non-moving inventory. In addition, with approved digital files and qualified 3D printers & processes, certified parts can be produced close to aircraft sites, vastly reducing delivery-related carbon emissions and improving cost efficiencies.

Confident that additive manufacturing (AM) is the way forward, the company collaborates with technology partners and like-minded airline customers to develop multiple AM solutions. Here, ST Engineering shares how they successfully broadened and deepened their capabilities for AM solutions. 

Overcoming Challenges

Back in 2018, ST Engineering already had plans to expand their AM capabilities from Filament Layer Manufacturing (FLM) technologies to include Laser Powder Bed (LPB) technologies- covering the two processes of Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) and Direct Metal Laser Solidification (DMLS) – so as to offer a wider range of additive manufacturing solutions to customers. 

Originally, it only had Design Organisation Approval (DOA) and Production Organisation Approval (POA) from the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) for FLM technology. For the LPB technologies, the plan was to build in-house capabilities in managing and qualifying the systems, materials and processes, which would in turn open more application potential to produce AM aircraft parts. 

As a new adopter of LPB AM technologies, ST Engineering decided to collaborate with EOS, one of the industry’s pioneering leaders specialising in LPB AM systems, to jumpstart their learning curve in understanding the possibilities and limitations of both SLS and DMLS processes.

AM Solution

By the end of 2018, ST Engineering and EOS’ consulting arm, Additive Minds, established an Additive Manufacturing Capability Transfer program. The program comprised customised training and consulting workshops that aimed to build strong fundamentals among attendees in the following topics: parts screening and selection, design for AM, business case analysis, and introduction on critical-to-quality requirements for AM processes.

After the Capability Transfer Program, ST Engineering selected a load-bearing cabin interior assembly with no impact on flight safety from their converted freighter aircraft as a benchmark to kickstart their adoption journey with both SLS and DMLS technologies. 

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Growing Possibilities Of 3D Printing In The Aerospace Industry

Growing Possibilities Of 3D Printing In The Aerospace Industry

Selective Laser Melting offers a wide range of possibilities in the 3D Printing of metal-based parts. Using a rocket engine, CellCore looks into the possibilities that SLM technology can offer for the aerospace industry. Article by SLM Solutions. 

Selective Laser Melting (SLM) offers a wide range of possibilities in the additive manufacturing of metal-based parts. Additive manufacturing allows metal parts to be created with internal structures allowing the part to be stronger and lighter than if it were produced through traditional manufacturing methods. A further advantage is in the integration of several components in one component. This functional integration and a low post-processing effort lead to considerable cost savings in the manufacturing process. 

Using a rocket engine, the company CellCore has demonstrated the advantages of selective laser melting and how it can be optimally utilised in the aerospace industry. Printed in a nickel-based superalloy, a monolithic component was created in collaboration with SLM Solutions. 

3D-printed Rocket Engine

The demonstrator manufactured by CellCore and SLM Solutions consists of a thrust chamber, the core element of a liquid-propellant engine with a combustion chamber wall, a fuel inlet, and an injection head with oxidant inlet. The chemical reaction in the combustion chamber creates a gas that expands due to heat development and is then ejected with enormous force. The thrust required to drive the rocket is therefore created using recoil. Extremely high temperatures are created in the chamber during the combustion process, so the wall must be cooled to prevent it from burning, too. To achieve this, the liquid fuel (e.g. kerosene or hydrogen) is fed upwards through cooling ducts in the combustion chamber wall before entering through the injection head. There, the fuel mixes with the oxidant and is lit by a spark plug. In conventional constructions, the cooling ducts are countersunk in a blank and subsequently sealed through multiple working steps. 

With selective laser melting, the cooling is integrated as part of the design and created together with the chamber in one process. Due to the engine‘s complexity, the traditional manufacturing process is cost-intensive, requiring half a year minimum. Additive manufacturing on the other hand, requires fewer than five working days to create an improved component.

Filigree Structural Cooling to Increase Efficiency

The single-piece rocket propulsion engine, combining the injector and thrust chamber, reduces numerous individual components into one, with multi-functional lightweight construction achievable only with the selective laser melting process. 

The internal structure developed by CellCore is the fundamental element of the engine and cannot be manufactured by traditional methods. It is not only suited to transport heat, but also improves the structural stability of the component. The cooling properties of the CellCore design considerably outperform conventional approaches, such as right-angled, concentrically running cooling ducts.

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Safran And SLM Solutions Evaluate SLM Technology For Additively Manufactured Main Fitting Of A Bizjet

Safran And SLM Solutions Evaluate SLM technology For Additively Manufactured Main Fitting Of A Bizjet

In a joint project, Safran Landing Systems and SLM Solutions tested Selective Laser Melting to produce a component of a nose landing gear for a bizjet. A world first for a part of this size.

The joint objective of the project is to demonstrate the feasibility to produce a main fitting by Selective Laser Melting process. The component was therefore redesigned for metal-based additive manufacturing allowing time saving in the whole process, and significant weight reduction about 15 percent of the component.

Due to the stringent requirements of this component, which is one of the parts that transfers the loads from the wheel to the aircraft structure and is retracted after take-off, Safran selected the titanium alloy, as it is a material with high mechanical properties, naturally resistant to corrosion, which does not require any surface treatment. Additionally, it helps increasing part durability.

Thierry Berenger, Additive Manufacturing project leader at Safran Landing Systems says: “We chose SLM Solutions as a partner, because of their expertise and the SLM 800 machine, which exactly meets our requirements in terms of machine size and reliability.”

With a vertically extended build envelope, the SLM 800 is perfectly adapted to produce large components. The machine is equipped with SLM Solutions’ proven quad-laser technology and innovative features, like the patented gas flow and a permanent filter, that ensure highest reliability.

One of the strengths of the SLM technology is its flexibility. Design changes can be quickly modified, printed and tested, then less time is spent during the prototype development.

Gerhard Bierleutgeb, EVP Global Services & Solutions at SLM Solutions explains: “Additive manufacturing contributes to save time in the qualification and certification phases by rapidly providing the parts for testing. We were able to produce the main fitting in few days on the SLM 800, vs few months with the forging process.”

Part Information:

  • Measurements: 455x295x805 mm
  • Material: Titanium
  • Machine: SLM 800

This new design invented by Safran Landing Systems, meeting ambitious resistance and mass reduction objectives, is patented.

 

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3D Systems Introduces Next Generation ‘High Speed Fusion’ 3D Printing System For Aerospace And Automotive Market Applications

3D Systems Introduces Next Generation ‘High Speed Fusion’ 3D Printing System For Aerospace And Automotive Market Applications

3D Systems has introduced a novel High Speed Fusion industrial 3D printer platform and material portfolio. Developed in a collaboration with Jabil Inc., this unique HSF  family of products, including the Roadrunner 3D printer, is expected to provide the best economics of any high throughput industrial fused-filament offering in the market today. Through the use of advanced electric motion control, this unique system operates at speeds and precision levels well beyond current state-of-the-art production platforms.

With temperature capability and available build areas greater than those of competing systems, combined with an outstanding materials portfolio, the Roadrunner system is designed to address the most demanding aerospace and advanced automotive applications. The result is not only unique application solutions but compelling manufacturing economics driven by the size, speed, and precision of this new technology platform.

“By introducing our High Speed Fusion filament printer, 3D Systems will build on the organisational focus that we adopted in 2020, and expand our presence in growing markets that demand high reliability products such as aerospace and automotive,” said Dr. Jeffrey Graves, president and CEO, 3D Systems.

“Our investments in this solution, and collaboration with Jabil, will allow our customers to increase productivity and performance by using additive manufacturing with a hardware, software, and materials platform that is uniquely designed for the rigors and requirements of an industrial setting. The value proposition, which we believe is compelling, will open new markets for our company that are estimated to be over $400 million, with the promise of new markets, beyond these current opportunities, as the economics of this new technology platform are fully demonstrated.”

Existing industrial fused filament printers have often been constrained by high costs of production and low throughput. In recognising these constraints, Jabil and 3D Systems application and industry experts are applying their combined knowledge to bring to market a robust solution that meets the day-to-day requirements of the most demanding industries. Specific applications include:

  • Direct Printing: aerospace interiors and ducting, drone components, automotive under dash and under hood, and other general industrial applications.
  • Tooling & Fixtures: manufacturing aids, automation and robotics tooling, lift assist tooling, as well as moulds and sacrificial tools.
  • Prototyping Parts: automotive, aerospace, medical, heavy equipment, and general industry support.

3D Systems estimates the current marketplace for these types of industrial solutions is greater than $400 million and further expects this revolutionary solution to open up new markets by filling a large unmet need of balancing low cost and high throughput. The result is that 3D Systems’ High Speed Fusion industrial printer, Roadrunner, is made for manufacturing and solves key limitations of competitive offerings by providing:

  • Highest deposition rates combined with the best dimensional precision of any standard industrial class of fused filament platform.
  • Lowest landed part cost without sacrificing part quality.
  • Capability to process high-performance, high-temp materials, like ULTEM and PA CF with a broad range of general-purpose filaments like ABS and PETg ESD.

“We are proud of the progress the Jabil and 3D Systems teams have made and the ability of this solution to overcome the historical system and sub-system level limitations of current market offerings,” said John Dulchinos, vice president, 3D printing and digital manufacturing, Jabil. “Jabil understands the needs of a large-scale manufacturing environment and we look forward to continuing to collaborate with 3D Systems to make this new system available to the marketplace while also using it within our own factories.”

Application engineering and materials development on the new platform has been underway for more than a year and will continue during 2021, with shipments of the Roadrunner system to begin in 2022.

 

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Farsound Achieves Aviation Suppliers Association’s Quality System ‘ASA-100’ Certification

Farsound Achieves Aviation Suppliers Association’s Quality System ‘ASA-100’ Certification

Farsound announced that it has met the requirements of the Aviation Suppliers Association’s Quality System Standard “ASA-100” and FAA Advisory Circular 00-56B.

Recent changes introduced by the CAAC (Chinese Airworthiness Authority) mandate aircraft parts distributors to be approved to quality standard ASA100 if they wish to continue supplying parts into China.

Following a successful approval assessment audit, demonstrating compliance to the requirements, Farsound has received its approval certificate to ASA100.

“This is a major achievement for Farsound, especially in the very short timescale, and will allow us to continue, and grow our business in China. My thanks go to everyone who has been involved in this project,” commented Graham Mitchell, Farsound’s Quality Director

Established February 25, 1993, the Aviation Suppliers Association (ASA), based in Washington, D.C., is a not-for-profit association, representing more than 640 global member companies. Collectively, they lead critical logistics programs, purchasing efforts, and distribution of aircraft parts world-wide. Member companies include: distributors, suppliers, surplus sales organisations, repair stations, manufacturers, airlines, operators, and other companies that provide services to the aviation parts supply industry.

The ASA Accreditation Program is a 36 month audit program based on the ASA-100 Standard. The standard was created to comply with the FAA Advisory Circular (AC) 00-56, the Voluntary Industry Distributor Accreditation Program. ASA-100 emphasises issues such as impartiality, competence, and reliability – all specific to the regulated needs of the aerospace industry.

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