Background

Beverston Engineering recently won a bid to manufacture a new complex part for one of its clients from the aerospace industry. The part was a high-value aerospace component to be produced from a solid material block in 5-axis CNC milling machines, before it was sent to a sub-contractor partner for post-processing, surface treatment and marker identification.

The challenges faced by the project were to rapidly plan the production and the quality planning of the new part before it was sent to the factory floor to be manufactured, and to improve the production and the quality planning processes and procedures when manufacturing highly precise and complex new parts especially when 2D technical drawing span multiple pages, meaning visualisation of the part geometry was difficult for machinist and quality technicians to follow.

We would like to thank Sensor City for helping us with this plastic 3D print that assisted us in the development and manufacture of this complex aerospace part.
'They enabled us to turn our concept into a reality."

Amr Sufian, Industry 4.0 Project Engineer, Beverston Engineering

Approaching Sensor City

Beverston are always looking for new ways of doing things and to innovate by embarking upon on fourth industrial revolution digital technologies to improve all areas across the business. For this project, Beverston approached Sensor City to assist in producing a 3D printed prototype of the complex component.

Partner Support

As the component was too large to print in its final state using available 3D printers, Sensor City engineers assisted in planning and commissioning the whole printing process by dividing the model into four parts, that were assembled after they were individually 3D printed, using off the shelf available materials.

Working into the future

The production component will continue to be produced at Beverston for the foreseeable future having expanded Beverston’s product range. Additionally, 3D printing solutions will continue to be used in Beverston Engineering when complex new parts are to be developed, especially when quality and production processes can’t be easily defined prior to manufacture.

Other possible avenues will be to explore solutions in production tooling (e.g. 3D printing jigs fixtures) which will potentially help to reduce the tooling costs and further reduce production lead times.

Results

The overall benefit to the project was improved quality planning before manufacturing had begun, where some quality processes required a physical part for precision measurements techniques to be established. This process would usually take place while production of the first part is ongoing.

The 3D printed parts produced by Sensor City assisted the quality planning to be defined alongside the production planning, and thus reduced lead time for the customer.

The other benefit was seen in rapid production planning before the first part was sent to the factory floor and thus reduced time to manufacture, reduced manufacturing costs and machining downtime.

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