Aerospace Electropolishing to Improve Cycle Life
Able Electropolishing has longstanding relationships with a variety of aerospace vendors and equipment manufacturers, helping suppliers of commercial and military aircraft get their products off the ground. Engineers working in aerospace use electropolishing on a regular basis to improve the fit and function of components made from various materials. The key benefit that design engineers in this industry expect from electropolishing is fatigue life improvement. The metal parts used in helicopters and airplanes must be able to withstand stress and corrosion with long-term use, and must meet highly demanding cycle life specifications. Whether these parts are stamped or machined, they will almost certainly be made with surface anomalies that can lead to premature failure.
Improving Helicopter Performance with Stainless Steel Electropolishing
Able Electropolishing is an approved supplier for Boeing, and is one of only 128 suppliers to earn the prestigious gold level performance rating. As an approved suppler, we have been electropolishing parts for Boeing and their vendors for years.
One notable example is a part that we electropolish directly for Boeing Helicopter: A strap stamped out of 301 stainless steel. This strap is a flight-critical part that supports the rotors in military helicopters. After initial bench testing, Boeing experienced premature part failure, and it was not meeting cycle life specifications. Their chief metallurgical engineer reached out to us and our stainless steel electropolishing services, which improve fatigue life by removing surface defects. Extensive testing revealed that the stamping process was leaving the heavy gage material with fissures and cracks, which shortened the cycle life of the part. Over a three-year period, Able Electropolishing worked directly with Boeing, electropolishing numerous test lots to determine the proper material removal and processing parameters.
Ultimately, we were successful in removing the surface defects, enabling the part to pass stringent bench testing. Electropolishing the stainless steel was an important factor in Boeing being awarded a large contract with the military.
Commercial Aerospace Electropolishing
Another Able Electropolishing client sends us landing gear components used in commercial aircraft. The part, made from 300M ultra high strength steel, is manufactured using electrical discharge machining. This leaves behind an amorphous layer of molten metal particles, re-deposited onto the surface of the part. As with other clients that work in aerospace, electropolishing was determined as the best method for removing these surface deposits. Our process uniformly removes the problematic material, preventing the micro-cracks and stress failures they would otherwise cause.
Other materials that we are capable of electropolishing for aerospace industries include: Aluminum (5052, 6061, 7075), stainless steel (17-4 PH, 17-7 PH, 13-8 PH, 15-5 PH, AM 355) and titanium.