How Contractors Can Help With Aerospace Sheet Metal Forming

How Contractors Can Help With Aerospace Sheet Metal Forming

Sheet metal forming is a critical step in the aerospace design and manufacture process. Sheet metal forming creates the outer skin of an aircraft and directly affects the aerodynamics, maneuverability, and overall utility of the machine. Contractors involved in the design and manufacture of aerospace applications can assist with successful sheet metal forming in several ways.


Understand the Materials

Since sheet metal forming is a process that utilizes varying materials, engineers should familiarize themselves with the range of metals and alloys available. Aluminum, stainless steel, carbon steel, and titanium are all utilized in for sheet metal forming in aerospace applications.

The weight, strength, flexibility, cost, and availability of various materials will factor in determining their utility and suitability for any given application in sheet metal forming. Designing with the correct materials in mind will ensure that the sheet metal forming that is required to bring a concept to reality is feasible in the real world.


Understand the Process                  

Besides the various materials choices that need to be made in aerospace design and engineering, are the many processes that are part of sheet metal forming. Contractors are smart to produce designs whose curves, edges, shapes and forms can be practically produced through the common practices widely available in sheet metal forming. Engineering, tooling, pressing, rolling, and hydroforming, as well as welding, cutting, stamping, milling, and routing are all processes that may be required in sheet metal forming. All production facilities will not have the same sheet metal forming capacities, and bringing a production facility up to the task required for production of a specific part can be extremely costly and time consuming.


Understand the Time, Cost, and Complications

Contractors who are familiar with the various procedures and processes in sheet metal forming can be mindful of the time, costs, and complications involved with the various available sheet metal forming methodologies. Avoiding design requirements that utilize highly specialized tooling, for example, can mean that a production facility can get started on the specific sheet metal forming required, without the need to retrofit the production line with custom dies- saving time and money. Utilizing a material that is better adapted to a specific sheet metal forming process rather than designing with a material with a high failure rate, can cut waste and costs.


Think About Safety

Another aspect of sheet metal forming for the aerospace industry is safety. Engineering aircraft components formed of sheet metal that are structurally strong, lightweight, and impact resistant requires that designers, engineers, contractors and manufacturers work together constantly innovating. Sheet metal forming has come a long way from its earliest days; strength, safety, form, and function are all integrated to create today’s high-performance aircraft. Other industries now borrow many of the sheet metal forming procedures that were first pioneered in the aerospace field. Automotive, medical and industrial applications can all be found utilizing the same sheet metal forming processes that were first developed for aerospace technology.

Contractors can help their companies develop sheet metal forming processes with wider applications, and thus greater profit potential, when they are well educated on the many facets of forming sheet metal: materials, processes, complications, and safety.