Aerospace and defense manufacturing is known for its complex designs, continual changes and the need to negotiate tight margin requirements. At Elite Aviation Products (EAP), a division of Elite Aerospace Group (Irvine, CA), we face these challenges every day.
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My original intention for this column was to discuss a phrase getting a lot of buzz lately, artificial intelligence (AI). By any measure, interest in AI is expanding exponentially, both in the number of articles one can read on the subject and, according to Google Trends, the number of searches for those articles.
A fused filament 3D printer has saved a custom outdoor lighting manufacturer tens of thousands of dollars a year, improving operations and winning more business. The purchase also helped retain customers who would previously have gone elsewhere for specialized parts.
Additive manufacturing lets companies think “outside the box.” Engineers can now start to look at a part without restrictions on size, shape or material. Instead of taking 15 different CNC milled parts and brazing them together, these companies have reimagined the part entirely—to be built as one part.
Our focus has always been on helping manufacturers improve quality, productivity and visibility. In Sight Machine 2.0, among other things, we’ve added a set of enhancements to improve visibility.
I just returned from IMTS in Chicago and my first thought was, “where will I be able to rack up all those bonus steps I got last week?” On the easiest day, I walked 7.9 miles, and I topped 10 miles on two other days. It’s easy to understand why.
When I graduated with an engineering degree some decades ago, I learned that the organizations I was going to work for had internal communication problems. This was especially true for those that designed and manufactured complex machinery such as engines, aircraft, or automobiles.
Should the US Copyright Office oversee whether 3D printer operators can use feedstock not approved by their machine’s maker to turn out medical devices or airplane parts, or is that the role of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), respectively?
In the early days at CNC Software, we saw that our Mastercam CAD/CAM system was only part of a larger manufacturing solution and that an open architecture foundation could allow seamless data communication with complementary devices and systems across the shop floor.
I’m among the first to dive into the latest manufacturing innovations and see how they can improve our customers’ operations. Yet, I’m also among the first to advise them to pause and ensure that the fundamentals of their manufacturing processes are in place before adding something new into the complex mix of functionality and desired outcomes.