Precision Metal Spinning Revolutionizes Aerospace with Flow Forming

Precision Metal Spinning Revolutionizes Aerospace with Flow Forming

As explained by Dr. Alastair Conway, senior knowledge exchange fellow and lead of the University of Strathclyde’s Advanced Forming Research Centre’s forging and incremental technologies team in the Aero Magazine article “Go with the flow,” aerospace is increasingly drawn towards flow forming technologies.

Metal spinning, an ancient manufacturing method, has evolved into a sophisticated technique with the introduction of motorized equipment during the industrial revolution. One of its advanced iterations is flow forming, a CNC-based manufacturing technology popular in various countries but underutilized in the UK, particularly in aerospace. Flow forming involves the incremental reduction of the wall thickness of a cylindrical preform by stretching and extruding it through forming rollers along a mandrel. This precise process enables the production of long cylinder components with varying wall thicknesses and intricate geometries.

While traditionally aerospace components were manufactured through methods like machining from large forgings, flow forming minimizes material wastage, machining time, and costs. The Advanced Forming Research Centre’s research since 2014 has demonstrated the potential of flow forming for critical, high-value aerospace components like engine shafts and landing gear, which are typically made from solid forged billets.

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