Streamlining your aerospace manufacturing supply chain to improve productivity, delivery, and reduce costs–all without sacrificing quality–is key in today’s changing landscape. Working with a new manufacturer is an investment in a potentially long-term partnership and knowing that you can trust your supplier or manufacturer makes all the difference.
We understand the value of establishing that relationship from the start. That’s why you’ll see the statement that “on-time delivery and top quality should be a given” and “Do the Right Thing” all over our website. We prefer to go above and beyond, helping our customers consolidate their supply chain by providing a wide range of capabilities under one roof.
Here’s what that looks like in practical terms.
We continue to improve and expand our traditional core capabilities while finding ways to incorporate new manufacturing technologies. In our experience, traditional methods are still cost-efficient for many aerospace applications, however newer methods can be the best option for many programs.
Whether you need defense parts or commercial aircraft parts, we know how beneficial it is to keep your aircraft, on-road vehicle, or aerospace or defense equipment reliably in service. That begins with top quality engineering and manufacturing of parts. The two are inextricably connected. We believe it is important to stay up-to-date with the latest research, manufacturing technology, and best practices.
Our nearly 90,000 sq foot facility affords us the flexibility to adapt to changing customer requirements as well as ever-evolving aerospace manufacturing trends. Through our various manufacturing capabilities, we help customers get more done under one roof.
Capabilities: Traditional Aerospace Manufacturing Methods
Elastomeric Seals & Rubber Molding
Many elastomeric seals have demanding applications that require multiple fabric reinforcements (polyester, fiberglass, Nomex, or Nextel) as well as composite resin or metallic stiffeners. These high-performance parts depend on hand layup techniques and multi-piece tooling.
The Machining department makes finished 3, 4, and 5-axis parts as well as components for all other work centers. In addition, the department performs tight tolerance machining to support the Elastomer, Composite Compression, and Plastic Injection departments. The department also fabricates assembly aids and inspection fixtures.
Son-Aero continues to invest in the latest technology to meet the requirements of our customers and remain competitive in our pricing. Our second 5-axis machine will be online in the third quarter of this year. We recently purchased a 5-axis Omax waterjet with a 2 -meter x 4.2-meter (6.5-foot x 13.8-foot) cutting area. By bringing this capability in-house we can control the schedule and quality of our products more precisely, thereby streamlining our production and improving our delivery times.
Composite Compression Molding
We use various chopped fiber and prepreg materials to compression mold composite components. These high-performance parts are strong and lightweight which makes them appealing for use in a variety of aerospace applications. In order to meet future needs, the Composite Compression Molding area was recently remodeled to improve workflow and increase available capacity.
Capabilities: Other Popular and Newer Methods
As engineering and quality standards continue to grow more advanced and at times more complex, we are also poised to adapt and provide more cutting edge manufacturing methods. In fact, we specialize in helping our customers create parts that require more advanced combinations of manufacturing methods. This helps speed up the entire order process as well as production and compliance time, while also reducing chances for error or transport issues.
Hybrid Manufacturing / Interfuse Manufacturing
Hybrid manufacturing of different materials into one assembly or detail sets us apart from many of our competitors. We have the capabilities to manufacture many different materials and combine them into one assembly. A sampling of those manufacturing capabilities are:
- Fabric and Composite Reinforced Aerodynamic Seals
- Fire Barriers
- Elastomer to Metal Bonded Assemblies
- EMI Conductive Elastomer Seals
- Metallic Assemblies
- Plastic Injection Assemblies
- Composite Compression Assemblies
Additive Manufacturing/ 3D Printing
We have been able to use 3D printed prototypes to rapidly iterate new part designs. This includes the manufacture of elastomer compression molds to make samples out of high consistency silicones and RTVs (room temperature vulcanization) with fabric reinforcements and prepreg stiffeners. As Boeing and Lockheed develop the standard in additive manufacturing, companies like us have the opportunity to invest and be part of the new era of aerospace manufacturing.
Expansion of Quality Department
Son-Aero is researching the newest technologies in inspection. Scanning with advanced software analysis will take us to the next level of compliance. The accuracy and speed of the scanning tools will change the way we inspect and qualify our production. To ensure our inspectors can keep up with the number of inspections required on a daily basis, we will invest in this type of new technology.
Industry 4.0 Or Smart Manufacturing – Automation, Robotics, and more
This year, we are working toward well-informed methodologies to integrate more data-driven, automated processes into our manufacturing process. From upgrading our software to exploring an expansion of smart equipment and additional machines we are preparing to be a leader in smart manufacturing.
What does that mean for our customers? Increased efficiency, quicker turnaround, more available data and easier adaptations for custom, hybrid, and additive produced parts.
At a time like this, even amid a pandemic, our diversification and commitment to our values enables us to continue to be able to stay in production, as close to normal as possible, while doing our best to keep our customers and employees safe.