Tag Archives: aerospace

The Growing Commercial Aircraft Turbine Engine Market

The commercial aircraft turbine engine market has shown recent exponential growth, which is poised to continue well into the future. A recent study by Technavio revealed that the market will continue to expand through 2020, with an estimated Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 5.85% over that period.

The projected increase in the market is based mostly on the expected continued rise of new aircraft needed as fleets replace older models and grow their existing fleets. New designs offer advantages over older models, helping airlines increase passenger capacity and decrease fuel usage, factors that drive buying forward. Technavio also cites strict regulations concerning noise and carbon dioxide emissions as being additional driving factors.

Another factor for the increased growth is the development and introduction of new materials. Aimed at making the blades more durable and efficient, industry leaders predict these new components will be sought to retrofit older aircraft. New engines such as the LEAP and GE9X reduce the weight of the aircraft through utilizing composites, allowing for the increase of weight elsewhere or, more often, allowing the plane to be more fuel efficient.

In addition to utilizing lighter weight materials, new designs in the HGP (hot gas path) section of the engines have increased the efficiency of the cooling of the special alloy components, contributing to overall increased engine efficiencies. The use of special heat resistant coatings and intricate cooling film designs has raised the technical requirements for the production of these parts.

At Hi-Tek Manufacturing, we have been one of the leading manufacturers serving the aviation and land-based turbine market for over 30 years. This predicted growth gives us even more hope for the upcoming years, but it also means that we will need to rise to meet the demands of the growing market. The key areas that need to be addressed are capabilities and capacity.

Capabilities relates to what we can handle, such as new materials and new designs. We plan on taking these technical changes head-on by keeping abreast of the latest technology, and making the necessary equipment and employee development changes needed to work with the most advanced materials on the market.

Capacity, on the other hand, relates to just now much we can produce. Through capital investments in new machines, along with increasing the training of our staff, we can increase our capacity to produce HPT Blades and Vanes, heat shields, fairings, and other parts. We are excited to see how the turbine blade market grows, and to see how it benefits us at Hi-Tek as well as the world of travel overall.

Growth in the Aerospace Industry

After a few rollercoaster years, in 2016, the aerospace industry across the United States and the world looks to be showing strong growth, and return to the power it was in previous decades. This is great news for companies, including us at Hi-Tek Manufacturing, involved in the manufacture of hot gas path aviation turbine engine components.

Faster, Farther, More Fuel-Efficient

With the global economy fairly stabilized after a few years of ups and downs, the aerospace industry continues to work towards developing and producing next-generation aircraft. With many fleets across the globe aging, or using older designs, there is a need for newer airframes that can go faster, carry more over a long distance, but that also get better fuel efficiency than current models.

Factors Driving Growth

Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu has forecasted that 2016 will be the year that the aerospace industry returns to positive growth, after a slight decline in 2015. In the coming year there are a number of factors that are expected to spur this growth on, including:

  • Relatively stable growth in gross domestic product throughout the world, meaning there is more spending capability.
  • Lower crude oil and other commodity prices, reducing cost of manufacture and operation.
  • Continued increase in passenger travel demands, which necessitate development and construction of next-generation commercial aircraft.
  • Global security threats have driven an increase in defense budgets worldwide, with an expected increase in aerospace demands.

Next Generation Jobs

The next-generation planes will need workers with next-generation skills for research and development – these are not the low-paying, low-skill jobs that so many people think of when they hear the word “manufacturing.” In fact, these are jobs that pay well above the national average, and rely more on math and science skills than one’s ability to turn a wrench. The jobs that are being created by the growth in the aerospace industry are jobs that will power the economy into the future. Some of these jobs are in new, emerging occupations that have not even been part of manufacturing before

Here at Hi-Tek, we have been providing manufacturing solutions and comprehensive support of hot gas path component production for gas turbine engine manufacturers, so growth in the aerospace industry means there is great potential for our company to grow. We look forward to expanding capabilities and tackling the growth head-on, to continue to provide the highest standard in aircraft turbine engine components.

The Name in Electrical Discharge Machining (EDM) is Hi-Tek!

EDM, an extraordinary technology, alternatively referred to as “spark machining” or “wire burning”, is a manufacturing process in which innumerable kinds of shapes are obtained utilizing electrical discharges or, what laypeople might call, sparks. In this seemingly magical process, material is removed from the piece being worked by a series of rapidly repeating current discharges between two electrodes that are separated by a dielectric liquid,  which is basically an electrical insulator in liquid form that can be polarized when an electric field is applied.

Electric Discharge Machining is surprisingly quite simple to explain when broken down:  An electrical spark is initiated between an electrode and the piece that is being shaped. The spark that is visibly emitted produces extreme heat that melts almost anything it contacts. This electrical spark is highly controlled and localized so that only the surface of the material being worked is affected. The liquid medium serves to cool and flush away any eroded metal particles eventually leaving behind a finished product.

Hi-Tek Manufacturing’s state-of-the-art electrical discharge machining services offer over 100 EDM machines that perform a wide variety of processes from the most staggeringly complex to simple, one-off operations. Hi-Tek’s equipment list consists of in-house designed and built fast hole machines, multi-axis CNC sinker machines, 3-axis sinker machines, a variety of EDM plunge equipment, and wire EDM machines. Holes can be produced as small as 0.001” and hold the true position to +/- 0.0005” and diameter tolerance to +/- 0.0002”.

The electrode manufacturing capabilities at Hi-Tek can produce stamped copper, brass tubes and rods, graphite, and tungsten rod electrodes and process holes in various forms such as cooling, round, shaped, pin seal, tip and non-line of sight, as well as non-hole features like slots, grooves, pockets, and notches. In other words, Hi-Tek is a one-stop shop!

To learn more about Hi-Tek’s cutting-edge electrical discharge machining (EDM) services, call today and discover why Hi-Tek lives up to its name.

Hi-Tek Manufacturing’s Precision Grinding is Unmatched!

There are numerous types of grinding techniques used to produce specific shapes and finishes on a variety of both metallic and non-metallic components.  Specializing in the manufacture of hot gas path turbine engine parts, Hi-Tek Manufacturing has developed unparalleled grinding technologies in the areas of continuous dress creep feed and plated wheel CBN profile grinding.

The company’s grinding equipment includes a continuous dress creep feed that operates up to a staggering100 HP with a 20″ wheel, 4-axis continuous dress creep feed, 5-axis CBN, 1 & 2 spindle cylindrical verticals, and CNC surface grinders.

Creep feed grinding is similar to a milling operation where large stock removal is possible to exacting shapes and profiles.  Various types of abrasive wheels are used from aluminum oxide to ceramic composite.  By employing diamond dress rolls to continuously dress the wheel surface, precise shapes are achieved by the clean cutting abrasive wheel.

With CBN (cubic boron nitride) plated wheels, radial shapes and features can be easily produced on intricate turbine engine nozzles, blades, and other components.  Sometimes referred to as “superabrasive” grinding, Hi-Tek Manufacturing utilizes a number of these CNC 5-axis grinding machines on a variety of parts.

A key to the successful grinding by Hi-Tek Manufacturing is the use of central fluid filtration systems.  These filters provide water soluble coolant for creep feed grinders and grinding oil to the CBN or superabrasive grinding operations.  Each machine receives fluid to the grinding or cutting zone at the same concentration, temperature, pressure, and cleanliness to ensure uniformity in grinding operations across all machines.

Contact Hi-Tek today to learn more about the high quality grinding services provided by an ISO 9001:2008 certified company.

5 Myths About Manufacturing Jobs

There are plenty of myths regarding manufacturing, the jobs available, and the future of the sector. Some of these myths are no big deal – the myth that the U.S. can’t compete with China, for instance, doesn’t drive people away from a manufacturing career path. In truth, we do compete with China, but while we can’t beat them when it comes to sheer quantity, we can beat them in quality. What hurts the most are myths that drive people away from manufacturing careers; careers that could be great for them to get into. If you are considering launching into a manufacturing career and you hear these myths, you need to ignore them.

Manufacturing Jobs are Low-Skill Jobs

In the past, many manufacturing jobs have been simple, hands-on, singular tasks. Turning wrenches, hammering, and manual assembly jobs were representative of the activities a worker would be required to do every day. In the modern manufacturing climate, workers are just as likely to be programming machines as welding pieces together. They will shift from one task to another, sometimes over the course of a single day. These are skilled jobs and require flexibility and highly developed skills.

Manufacturing Jobs are Dead-End Jobs

Most manufacturers are not interested in hiring workers who do not see themselves growing within the company. Innovation, the evolution of talent, and ideas are leading the sector into the future, and companies get it. Many companies hire with the idea that the new employees will learn and advance within the company as well as offer various educational opportunities for continued growth.

Manufacturing Jobs Don’t Pay Well

A century ago, manufacturing jobs were low-paying jobs with few benefits, and that has been a characterization that has been difficult to shake. Today the average manufacturing job is worth a combined $17,000 per year more in pay and benefits (including health benefits, retirement funds, pension plans, and more) than the average non-manufacturing or service industry position.

Women Aren’t Welcome in Manufacturing Jobs

Manufacturing is a male-dominated sector, and has been historically – that can’t be argued. However, manufacturing companies have been working to change that, and are not only open to more women joining the workforce, but have been actively pursuing it. This falls in line with the pursuit of innovation and evolution – manufacturers want the brightest minds, regardless of their gender.

The Manufacturing Job Means Working in a Dirty Environment

In the early days of manufacturing, many times the conditions were deplorable.  Lighting and air quality was poor at best, and unsafe working conditions were the norm.  No longer.  Today the manufacturing work environment is clean, safe, with temperature and humidity controlled environments.  Modern machine tools are computer controlled and ergonomically designed to reduce fatigue.  Companies realize that in order to produce the highest quality products, the work environment and operating conditions have to be of the highest standard possible.

What debunking all these myths demonstrates is that a career in manufacturing has a lot to offer. Whether at Hi-Tek  or any of the thousands of other manufacturers across the country, manufacturing workers are incredibly satisfied with their jobs, and continue to demonstrate that a career in a manufacturing job was their best choice. Manufacturing offers great jobs, and manufacturers are looking for more workers to fill them.

HI-TEK OFFERS CUTTING EDGE MULTI-AXIS LASER MACHINING FOR PRECISE AND CONTROLLED APPLICATIONS

Boasting compounded efficiency and pinpoint precision, multi-axis laser units work extremely well with Computer Numeric Control (CNC) machines to create 2D and 3D custom welded and cut parts. From producing stamped components to metal spinnings and unique part designs, flexible and easy to manipulate, multi-axis lasers have expansive XYZ travels and are put to a large number of uses in the aircraft, military and small and large land-based turbine engine industries.

HI-TEK MANUFACTURING AND ITS CAPABILITIES:

Hi-Tek Manufacturing was founded in the 1980s and since then has stood for unparalleled customer service excellence and the adroit use of technological advancements to create custom goods that adhere strictly to the specifications set forth by clients.

Where laser processing is concerned, Hi-Tek possess years of experience in dealing with single axis Nd:YAG and CO2 units. Of late however it has started specializing in multi-axis prototypes that can bring to life the movements specified by the G-code of CAD programs and render them with exceptional accuracy to produce trepan and percussion cooling holes, among other features.

Hi-Tek multi-axis lasers bring power outputs that vary between 400W and 4000W to the table and allow engineers and specialists a vast range of heat intensities to utilize. This flexibility results in etchings that vary from barely conspicuous product codes and company stamps to intricately carved spirals that retain their form yet do not break free from the larger surface of the super alloys, cobalt and nickel based ferrous and non-ferrous metals, and non-metallic materials that are deemed robust enough to serve as the blank canvas for the lasers.

An additional capability pioneered by Hi-Tek is laser ablation, the removal of thermal barrier coatings or TBC’s from hot gas path turbine engine components.  The precision and control of the laser beam allows the operator to “scrub” away the TBC while leaving the conductive bond coat in place for subsequent drilling operations.  Diffuser shapes are easily scrubbed into coatings of various thicknesses to meet the most demanding airflow requirements.

INTERNATIONAL STANDARDS MET:

Hi-Tek Manufacturing Laser Processing end products are at par with ISO 9001:2008, AS 9100 and NADCAP standards. With impressive axis travel numbers of 96″ x72″ x 36″, the multi-axis lasers are ideal fits for the production of hot gas path and structural components like high pressure and low-pressure turbines and combustors.

If you would like a custom quote please contact us here and allow us to serve you as per our industry best practices.

THE FUTURE OF HIGH POWER, HIGH CONSTRAINTS WELDING: THE FIBRE LASER

Welding is a process without which most of the modern world would be bereft of its technology and innovations. Everything from high rises to aerospace assemblies to vehicles and intricate medical devices make use of welding. It is an affordable, easy to leverage means by which structural integrity can be maintained and joints are provided with a degree of support to hold firm large structures.

Almost all forms of welding demand a continuous inflow of fuel to ensure a steady flame or arc and a high intensity of concentrated power to eliminate the probability of fusion defects. In particular CO2 welding results in low quality of the welded joints and splattering. In a bid to overcome these shortcomings of conventional processes, laser welding has emerged as a preferred choice. Nd:YAG in particular has been frequently leveraged in electronics, medical and fluid coupling industries.

THE ARRIVAL OF THE FIBRE LASER:

The latest trend in high power, high constraint welding is the use of fibre lasers. They consist of continuous wave (CW) or quasi-continuous wave (QCW) pump light sources coupled to rare earth metal doped optical fibres. The doping converts the light beam to a laser beam that is largely comprised of photons emitted due to spontaneous transitioning of electrons.

This output travels at a very fast pace through the fibre and is pulse shaped down to sub-millisecond resolution for defined spot welding. It is capable of joining very hard aerospace (Nickel and Titanium based) alloys with zero tolerance for cracks and porosity.

THE ADVANTAGES OF FIBRE LASERS:

Fibre lasers are catching on because they have a wide array of advantages recommending them over conventional options:

  • They have a very small wavelength of 1 um and thus a correspondingly high frequency. This allows for unprecedented power density.
  • Fibre lasers have high processing speeds and get the job done faster and more efficiently.
  • Since the output is delivered through an optical fibre, mirror manipulations are not needed and less power is lost through reflection and scattering.
  • Fibre lasers are brighter than their Nd: YAG counterparts and the beam can thus be shaped and focused with great accuracy to boost concentration.
  • Boasting better absorption by good conductors, fibre lasers offset their initial high investment with low operation and maintenance costs.
  • Last but not the least, fibre lasers can effortlessly weld dissimilar metals with the help of filler wires which allow for alignment of disparate pieces to provide an excellent join.

 

Hi-Tek Manufacturing has been a vanguard in Electrical Discharge Machining, Laser Processes, NC Milling, CNC Turning, CNC Grinding and Associated Process Support Services. It brings to the table high quality industrial fibre laser models which can easily revolutionize difficult welding under constrained (misalignment of pieces, danger of rapid oxidization of welded joints and so on) conditions. Call us at (513) 459-1094 to know more.

 

Preparing the Engineers of the Future

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The fact that manufacturing in America has made a comeback is now yesterday’s news. Innovation, cost-effectiveness, and quality products have brought it back. Today’s news is now centered on the manufacturing skills shortage—the jobs are back, but there aren’t enough skilled workers to fill them. So the question is, what does that mean for tomorrow?

Statistics show that 33% of American 25-29 year olds have a bachelor degree (or higher), up from only about 20% several decades ago.  But are they learning the skills they need for real-world employment? Do enough young people know how to work in—and advance in—a technical or engineering career, where the jobs are open and waiting for them?

Programs throughout the country are working toward this.  STEM education is being promoted, and in programs such as California’s Linked Learning and Albany’s Tech Valley High, students are benefitting from career-focused training that will prepare them for a successful future, and possibly help fill the skills gap.  The hope is that more schools will follow the lead.

As a high-tech, low-volume company, Hi-Tek doesn’t build a ton of individual piece parts, but the parts we do build are very difficult to manufacture.  So when a young hire comes to us, rather than sitting in a shop, working on a stamping machine all day and watching widgets as they watch the clock, they are coming to us with a high degree of machining expertise, and the opportunity to be challenged daily, while producing quality parts.

Of course, this requires thorough training and education, and above-average technical skills.  If the examples set forth by the high schools and colleges who are doing this training early are followed by other schools in the country, there’s no telling what the future will bring.