world-leading position in the provision of machining solutions for the aerospace sector has now been reinforced by the addition of an Ecospeed machining centre at 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.
The Ecospeed is known 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 headquarters, visitors to a dedicated 2,000m2
showroom can see first-hand the capabilities of Starrag’s Ecospeed (4m 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.
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.
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.
Lee Scott, Starrag UK’s director for sales and applications, said: “Visitors to our stand in the Swiss Pavilion at the Farnbough International Airshow
in July will 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 transitions to electric propulsion.
“We are really looking forward to aligning ourselves with aircraft OEMs and companies, across the board, to fulfil the burgeoning amount of manufacturing opportunities that electric propulsion offers.”
He added: “Starrag has historically embraced such levels of progress – for example, Industry 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 centre) initiative.”
“Producing machines to meet customers’ electric propulsion machining needs will undoubtedly be the latest addition to Starrag’s sustainability achievements.”
With a global customer base of companies involved in aircraft manufacture — in particular OEMs and Tier One 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.
The starting point for every Starrag solution is the component, not a machine. Mr Scott explained: “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.”
“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 concluded: “Components are becoming increasingly more complex and require more demanding machining, for example, we work closely with customers to develop and provide special-purpose fixturing and tooling. Nowadays you need the whole package — and it is a philosophy which will also apply to the manufacturing demands presented to our customers by electric propulsion.”