Starrag’s world-leading aerospace competence on display…and it’s electric! #engineering #engineeringupdate

Starrag’s undisputed world lead in providing machining solutions for the aerospace sector has now been reinforced by the addition of an Ecospeed machining centre to the company’s Aerospace Competence Center in Switzerland – an initiative that showcases the group’s long-established expertise in the manufacture of turbine blades, blisks and structural components.

Indeed, the Ecospeed is renowned for its unrivalled aluminium removal rates of up to 12 litres/min and is globally acknowledged as the most productive way to produce complex aluminium structural parts.

Starrag has over the years built up a vast and diverse knowledge of machining aerospace parts – not just of its own machines, but also of the entire manufacturing processes for these components. Now, at the group’s Swiss HQ, visitors to a dedicated 2,000 m2 hall can see and witness the capabilities of Starrag’s Ecospeed (4 metre pallet) machine alongside other state-of-the-art NB, LX and STC five-axis machining centres.

The machines are used to test and optimise new machine processes under production conditions, usually in response to customer orders.

Indeed, future development and production of Ecospeed machines have now been moved from Germany to Switzerland, enabling Starrag to offer the aerospace industry a huge range of applications from a single source – in a way that very few other companies around the world can.

This includes manufacturing solutions for blades, vanes, blisks, impellers, casings, gearboxes and housings for turbines. The range also covers aluminium and titanium structural components of various sizes, plus landing gear components.

“Importantly,” says Starrag UK’s Director for Sales and Applications, Lee Scott, “visitors to our stand in the Swiss Pavilion will also be able to learn how the Starrag Group (and, by definition, its machine users) will be ideally positioned to embrace any and every new manufacturing strategy as the global aircraft industry readily adopts electric propulsion.

“We’re really looking forward to aligning ourselves with aircraft OEMs and companies in all supply tiers to fulfil the burgeoning amount of manufacturing opportunities that electric propulsion offers,” he continues.

“As a group, Starrag has historically always embraced such levels of progress – for example, Industrie 4.0 and the VDMA (German Engineering Association) Blue Competence strategy, as well as making our entire machine/system product range more energy efficient through the eeMC (Energy Efficient Machining Center) initiative.

“Producing machines to meet customers’ electric propulsion machining needs will undoubtedly be the latest addition to Starrag’s sustainability achievements,” he says.

With a global customer base of companies involved in aircraft manufacture – in particular OEMs and Tier 1 suppliers throughout North America and Asia as well as Europe – Mr Scott says Starrag’s focus will, as always, continue to be on producing high-quality components in the shortest possible cycle times and at the lowest cost per part.

These demands will be achieved by, for example, multi-tasking (predominantly milling and turning) in a single set-up on machines across the Starrag ranges including Berthiez, Bumotec, Heckert and Starrag, as well as its TTL CAM/software operation.

Importantly, he concludes, the starting point for every Starrag solution is the component, not a machine. “We vary machine configurations and machining concepts to determine the overall effect on cycle times; pushing everything to the maximum to develop an all-embracing solution that is specific to each workpiece,” he adds.

“We are not in the market to sell ‘standard’ machines; we strive to continue to be the ‘application champion’ whether on specific parts required in either low- or high-volume. Our customers have to be competitive and, likewise, we have to remain focused on delivering cost-effective and efficient solutions – time after time.”

Mr Scott is adamant that Starrag’s ‘Engineering precisely what you value’ strategy is all-embracing: “Components are increasingly becoming more complex and require more demanding machining, so we work closely with customers to also develop (and provide) special-purpose fixturing and tooling, for example.

“Nowadays you need the whole package – and it’s a philosophy which will also apply to the manufacturing demands presented to our customers by electric propulsion.”

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