Precision Engineering And The Aerospace Sector

precision engineering

The aerospace sector wouldn’t exist today without outsourced, precision engineering services and components. While the majority of land vehicles are designed, constructed and tested in-house, the same does not apply to most aircraft.

Considering the number and diversity of aeroplane, spacecraft, satellite and helicopter components, aerospace engineering relies heavily on production chains and outsourced projects. It’s a complex process as each part or component must be designed and built to fit in with the overall plan.

The Importance Of Precision Engineering

Precision engineering plays a pivotal role in the aerospace sector as it has stringent quality controls. Within industries like aerospace and defence, components must be produced reliably, on time and to extremely accurate specifications. This is necessary to ensure safety and high standards of production at all stages of the process.

Aerospace companies work hard to meet these requirements as aircraft must be produced as fast as possible while meeting all the specifications and needs of their customers. Every precision engineering company has specialist engineers and equipment to ensure the best possible interlocking, modular designs.

Recommended: ‘Finding The Balance Between Quality Versus Cost In Engineering

The Complexity Of The Aerospace Sector

Aerospace engineering involves countless parts and processes, all of which need careful planning and construction. Some of these include:

  • Fastenings
  • Seatbelts
  • Landing gear and hydraulics
  • Optical overlays
  • Scientific instruments
  • Fabric interiors
  • Metalwork
  • Polymers
  • Exterior shells and interior architecture
  • Pressurised systems
  • Audio/visual equipment
  • Heavy doors

While some precision engineering companies, like PRV Engineering, is a true one-stop-shop, many simply cannot handle everything on their own. Outsourcing parts of the project to reputable companies will result in achieving consistently high quality across the entire production chain.

Precision is key as the aerospace sector relies on tiny parts that require advanced technology to function correctly and safely. For that reason, sub-standard precision engineering machines and sub-contractors simply won’t cut it. Aircraft manufacturers need batches to come back on time and to spec which means working with subcontractors who are prepared to invest in the latest machinery for production and inspection.

Precision Engineering Accountability And Traceability

Considering the importance of accuracy in design and engineering in the aerospace sector, all parts have to be traceable. If an accident, crash or failure occurs, the part must be assessed for flaws or errors. From there, quality control is necessary and must be in-depth and performed to exacting standards on every manufactured component.

When it comes to aircraft manufacturing, it is literally a matter of life-and-death with no margin for error. Even a design flaw that is off by a millimetre could result in scrapping an entire project. When outsourcing work to reputable engineering companies, checking and assessing aircraft components become easier and more effective.

Precision Engineering Requires Expert Engineers

Many of these advanced precision engineering and testing machinery need considerable expertise to setup, program and operate. Engineers must have the right skills and experience otherwise any investment in cutting-edge machines will go to waste. Customer confidence comes in many shapes and forms but in engineering, it involves the following:

Industry standards help back up an engineering company’s claims about what they promise. This includes delivering on their promise while doing it well especially for aerospace projects that require delivery of bespoke parts within a few days to meet a customer’s deadline.

Outsourcing To Specialist Engineering Companies

By entrusting the manufacturing of specialised components to experts, like PRV Engineering, the finished product becomes stronger than the sum of its parts. It makes tracking of responsible parties much easier as well as when it was made and with what.

Unless you have the necessary means and resources, mass in-house data logging is expensive and time-consuming. Doing it in one place without the required expertise can prove a difficult challenge.

Outsourcing the production of components can also streamline the process of identifying and fixing a faulty component. It can quickly and successfully be revised to the correct standards without impacting testing, assembly and shipping of other parts.

Sealed Or Locked-In Design And Layouts

Designing aircraft means relying on a special technique called a ‘sealed layout’ intended specifically for repeatability and safety. Once the design specifications and manufacturing methods have been finalised, the layout is ‘locked in’ or sealed.

Of course, that means no-one can make further revisions to the parts, materials or architecture of the aircraft. At least not without a full overhaul of the main plan and essentially starting from scratch. Once the layout has been sealed, aerospace engineering companies can only use the same external and internal suppliers to produce each part associated with that order.

Outsourcing uses sealed layout designs to ensure the highest possible level of repeatability when manufacturing parts or components. Dividing the project between multiple, professional engineering companies on a small scale will help ensure they have the time and expertise to produce identical production runs.

Conclusion

Whether you want someone who does everything in-house or relies on outsourcing, choosing to work with reputable companies is key. With the sealed or locked in principle, the engineering company you choose essentially own the part supply until the plan is revised once more. To be successful in today’s aerospace sector, you need to be a trustworthy, dedicated and reliable precision engineering company.

At PRV Engineering, we specialise in several industries including oil and energy, defence, aerospace, construction and rail among others. Get in touch with our team of experts if you need help fabricating a simple or complex product with challenging requirements. We can manufacture to very unique and specific requirements, whether it’s a one-off or a large batch order.