CNC Waterjet Cutting & Routing in the Aerospace Industry

CNC Waterjet Cutting in Aerospace Industry

CNC waterjet cutting and routing are skills that are in high demand across a range of industries, and that certainly holds true for aerospace. Aerospace companies design and manufacture aircraft and spacecraft, which require thousands of precisely fabricated parts. In fact, accuracy is crucial when fabricating metals for aerospace applications, as the smallest imperfection can lead to catastrophic failure, resulting in costly damage and even risk to human life.

CNC Waterjet Cutters & Routers Eliminate the Risk of Human Error

Computer numerical control (CNC) waterjet cutting tables and routers are the preferred tools of professional metal fabricators. This technology automates production, taking most of the process out of fallible human hands. With preprogrammed shapes and profiles uploaded to the CNC software, the waterjet cutter or router is guided by the system, producing perfectly fabricated parts. Due to the importance of precision engineering to the aerospace industry, CNC waterjet cutting and routing are used almost exclusively for manufacturing parts.

Aerospace Is a Growing Industry

With interest in space exploration and defense technology continuing to grow, demand for CNC waterjet cutting in the aerospace industry is as high as ever. Aerospace applications can be broken down into subcategories:

  • General aviation – manufacturing commercial and private airplanes for public transportation
  • Space exploration – designing spacecraft, planetary rovers, and a host of other technologies
  • Defense equipment – building military aircraft, missiles, and other arsenals for defense applications

Materials Used in Aerospace CNC Waterjet Cutting & Routing

Materials used in aerospace applications must be exceptionally strong yet lightweight, which is why aluminum is one of the most popular. Aluminum is also a relatively inexpensive metal, and it can be easily shaped. There are three specific aluminum alloys commonly used for manufacturing aircraft and spacecraft:

  • Series 2xxx – alloyed with copper for high strength and good workability (typically used in wings and fuselage structures)
  • Series 6xxx – alloyed with silicon and magnesium, resulting in less strength than series 2xxx but better corrosion resistance
  • Series 7xxx – alloyed primarily with zinc but also with copper, chromium, and magnesium for extra durability

Aluminum isn’t the only metal used in aerospace manufacturing, however. Stainless steel, titanium, carbon, and other high-stress alloys are also commonly used.

In-Demand Parts for the Aerospace Industry

The sheer number of metal parts used in manufacturing aircraft and spacecraft is mind-boggling, but what follows are the most in-demand items that professional CNC waterjet cutters should be able to produce for their aerospace customers:

  • Turbine blades
  • Valve components
  • Shafts
  • Castings
  • Seats
  • Components for oxygen generation systems
  • Housings
  • Structural components

How to Fabricate Metal Parts for Your Aerospace Customers

With the right CNC waterjet cutting and routing technology, fabrication companies can tap into the virtually unlimited potential of the aerospace industry. Not all burn tables are made the same, however. To ensure success, you need to equip your shop with a CNC waterjet cutter that has been customized to meet your production needs.

Where to Find Industry-Leading CNC Waterjet Cutting Technology

Machitech is a leader in automation that offers heavy-duty CNC waterjet cutting machines. Learn how we can help your shop expand into the aerospace industry with a precision waterjet cutting table and CNC router by contacting us today. Our solutions are trusted by fabricators around the world and include free and unlimited support for life.