One of our most exciting accomplishments at Heinz Engineering is making parts that are sent to space. And as a leading aerospace supplier since 1975, we have a lot of parts in space!
Over the years, we’ve machined flanges, load bolts, chassis, and plates used in cutting-edge aerospace technology for NASA and many private aerospace companies.
Through our decades of experience, we’ve learned that there are five key elements necessary for successful aerospace machining—and we’ve honed our expertise in each of these areas. When you submit a quote for a custom precision part or assembly in the aerospace sector, we’ll review each of these elements to provide you with the best possible solution.
When making parts for the aerospace industry, the main challenge is sourcing and machining the right materials, which typically include superalloys or specialty metals such as Inconel, Monel, high-grade nickel, and titanium.
As a solutions provider, Heinz Engineering has overcome common material challenges:
- Machining aerospace materials. The hardness and heat absorption properties of these materials enable passage through the Earth’s atmosphere on the way into outer space. But the same properties that make these metals ideal for aerospace machining also make them extremely difficult to work with. Inconel, for example, can easily chew through tools if not machined properly.
We have a long history of working with tough materials that most shops consider very difficult to machine. We also have the top talent required to machine new and custom materials on the market. From programming to machining, our team has the necessary expertise to create aerospace parts that are high quality, reasonably priced, and produced on time.
- Sourcing aerospace materials. Sourcing aerospace materials is also challenging, as they are heavily regulated by the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS) and aren’t readily available from many suppliers. To solve sourcing challenges, we’ve built a nationwide network of suppliers. We use data analytics to ensure competitive pricing and track material availability.
In an industry like aerospace with a low margin of error and high standards for flight safety, there’s no cutting corners when it comes to precision and accuracy. Many of the components that go into aircraft or spacecraft must fit into very small spaces, so tight tolerances are a must.
Through our long history machining aerospace parts, Heinz Engineering has developed the right machinery and expertise to machine these tight tolerances. Our proficiency spans everything from CNC milling and CNC turning to grinding and honing, so we’re able to achieve tolerances of .0001”.
Inspection and Quality
Due to the highly regulated nature of the aerospace industry, internal quality and inspection standards for aerospace parts must be stringent. Heinz Engineering is AS9100 and ISO9001 certified, and all our policies and procedures are in line with AS9100 guidelines.
We perform a First Article Inspection report in accordance with AS9102 regulations. We also provide three additional levels of inspection to monitor for quality: operator inspection, in-process inspection, and quality control inspection.
We go above and beyond our customers’ expectations to exceed their acceptable quality limit (AQL). For example, if your AQL is 20 inspections for 100 parts, we’ll inspect 50-100. If we know your parts are going into space, we’ll likely do 100% inspection. We also do 100% inspection on parts with threads (OD or ID).
Processing and Supply Chain
When it comes to aerospace machining, it’s important to have smooth processing and supply chain operations to maintain all the moving pieces of a project.
Customers may request that we use specific outside processors to complete an order. In many cases, we already have a working relationship with these vendors, making it that much easier for us to deliver. We also have a list of our own carefully selected preferred vendors, all of which are Nadcap-approved and subject to AS9100 standards.
Due to the close relationships we have with our vendors, we receive frequent updates and faster turnaround times than many other shops. We believe that every millisecond matters, so it’s important for us to have that communication in place.
We actively manage the supply chain to make sure AQL requirements cascade down to all outside vendors and processing. When vendors need to perform 200-hour tests to measure material strength, including tensile and pull testing, we project manage this process to guarantee quality before ever receiving the part.
Depending on factors like size and sharpness of edges, parts may require special packaging to guarantee that they reach customers in the same condition as when they left the shop. We don’t want any parts to arrive with nicks or dings!
We work closely with Uline and other vendors to package aerospace parts carefully so they’re not damaged in transit. We may use standard packaging, such as egg crates, but also have special trays and other custom packing materials for the parts that need it. We put a lot of hard work and care into aerospace parts, so we want to make sure they’re delivered on time in pristine condition. Don’t trust just any shop for your next aerospace project. Bring it to a team of experts who have been machining aerospace parts since 1975. Request a quote from us and we’ll respond in 24 hours!