US contract manufacturer Shapes Precision Manufacturing (SPM) is committed to long-term agreements with leading customers who want to partner by providing single source capabilities to produce complex assembles. This requires a committed management team, utilising the latest technology along with motivated and skilled workers.
As a supplier of turbine engine components, a deep knowledge of processing aerospace materials is essential. Among the many aerospace materials, the company processes include Inconel’s, Hastelloy’s, titanium, stainless steel, aluminum and many other materials.
Key to many of these fabrication processes the company’s LASERDYNE multi-axis fibre laser systems particularly its recently acquired LASERDYNE 430 system with the BeamDirector system. With the addition of that system, along with its existing LASERDYNE 795 system, the door opened to long-term engine component contracts.
The expansion into long-term aerospace contracts began with a new management
team and a commitment to new and best manufacturing technology including multi-axis laser systems. Expanding the use of fibre lasers with new equipment is important to Shapes Precision’s mission to double its operations.
A key feature of that new machine is its unique capability for drilling cylindrical and shaped holes as well as bevel cutting in a wide range of materials particularly the specified aerospace materials of Titanium and Inconel. The system is equipped with a 15,000-Watt QCW (quasi-continuous wave) fibre laser and S94P Controller that provides the required peak power for drilling applications and pulsed or CW output for the cutting applications.
‘We are drilling shallow angle holes at high speed and the machine straightforward operation allows us to change from drilling to cutting to welding without having to tune the laser or wait for warm up as with Nd:YAG lasers,” reports Mr Sesta, SPM’s General Manager. “Parts range from about an inch to up to 20 inches in diameter made with stainless alloys, aviation aluminums and high strength steels. Speeds with the LASERDYNE 430 are 50 percent faster than the YAG system and we’re meeting dimensional requirements within 0.001 inch and minimum to no micro-cracks in the heat affected zone. We’re operating the machine 21 hours a day with less than 1 percent downtime.
“What’s really efficient when using the LASERDYNE 795 and LASERDYNE 430 together is that the 430 is ideal for smaller parts and the LASERDYNE 795 for larger parts while each machine can handle the other machines parts within the shared size range for added capacity and flexibility. Having that second laser system ensures risk mitigation and lessens the possibility of being out of production.”
Another innovation for Shapes Precision laser operations is its use of FASTTRIM software, an all-in-one software for the LASERDYNE 430 and LASERDYNE 795 systems. It enables SPD engineers to model parts, define process paths, define feature locations and build part fixtures. Operators can easily post a complete program for 2D and 3D laser welding, drilling and cutting applications.
“The new LASERDYNE 430 was a revelation for the productivity improvements it allowed,” reported Mr Sesta. “It provides greater opportunity for more technological advancement going forward. This is due to Prima Power Laserdyne’s history in process development, hardware knowledge and software that is made available to existing customers. These added laser processing capabilities are an important part of our capabilities resulting in enhanced customer support, improved performance and business growth.”