Aerospace manufacturers use various materials to create aerospace parts, including composites, plastics, steel, aluminum, and other metals. They then use heat treating, composite curing, and finishing to produce high-quality products. Regardless of how they’re produced, aerospace parts must be highly reliable and durable, be of high quality, and meet tight production tolerances and exacting specifications.
Manufacturers need aerospace-grade industrial ovens to execute the specialized heat-treating process and drying applications required by aerospace parts. These ovens enhance a part’s strength, ductility, and fatigue life so that the components can withstand harsh aerospace environments. The ovens also help improve machining and formability or restore ductility after a cold-forming operation.
Meeting these aerospace quality requirements, however, is easier said than done. To produce parts with consistent quality, manufacturers need production management systems certified to AS9100D. This certificate derives from the international management standard ISO 9001:2015—a critical international management standard for the aircraft, space, and defense industry.
Testing High-quality Aerospace Parts
Producing reliable, high-quality aerospace parts has its own unique challenges, including the highest level of precision possible. Aerospace parts must be able to withstand volatile atmospheric pressures, extreme temperature ranges, and other elements that may cause extreme stress to a part. Plus, aerospace parts are often made from higher grade materials, such as titanium, composites, high alloy steel, carbon/carbon, and ceramics, to comply with strict industry standards. Some of these materials are hard to machine.
Manufacturers must also conduct the appropriate testing of aerospace parts to ensure they have created a reliable part. Manufacturers need the right equipment, however, to test aerospace parts effectively, including specialized industrial ovens. Aerospace-grade industrial ovens like Despatch’s are critical parts of this production process. Despatch ovens, for example, provide the strict temperature uniformity and airflow requirements needed to help test the materials that comprise aerospace parts.
Typical Features of Aerospace Industrial Ovens
Aerospace components that need heat treatment include engine components, structural hardware, door hinges, hydraulic fittings, landing gear, aircraft seat frames, and more. These parts can’t fail while in operation.
While aerospace-grade industrial ovens differ, many share similar features, which we detail below. They include
- Correct chamber size of oven
- Solid construction for heavy-duty cycles
- Efficient airflow designs
- Even heat distribution throughout the chamber
- Steel exteriors for increased corrosion resistance
- Digital process timers
- Programmable ramp/soak controllers
Optional oven features include a stoving and curing kit for extracting volatile fumes, vertical airflow impellers, explosion relief panels, a standard spares kit, and manual or motorized vertically opening doors.
Heat treating processes for producing high-quality parts sometimes take place in a vacuum. It protects metal alloys from oxygen, nitrogen, or hydrogen damage. If this process isn’t carried out in a vacuum, it may be processed under highly protective atmosphere gases.
Buying an Aerospace-grade Industrial Oven
Many aerospace-grade industrial ovens are custom-designed for exceptional precision, temperature uniformity, and process control. That makes them ideal for various applications, including heat treating components for further processing, drying and curing parts and assemblies, heat-treating fuselage shells and engine parts, curing composites, and drying surveillance aircraft radomes.
But buying a customized industrial oven can be a challenge. It can also be time-consuming and confusing. The key to getting the right oven is understanding your needs. Failing to define them when buying an oven can make it a hit-and-miss effort. It can also make it a costly mistake.
Below are questions to answer before buying an aerospace-grade oven:
- What’s the application?
- What grade of industrial oven is needed?
- What chamber size do we want?
- What about temperature requirements?
- How critical is temperature uniformity?
- What’s the best airflow for your oven?
- What about design/construction considerations?
The most critical of these questions is temperature uniformity. So, you need to determine the type of temperature uniformity you need before buying an oven. Some factors affecting uniformity are cold air stratification, placement of workload, and the controller’s accuracy and response speed. Subjecting the oven to a nine-point uniformity test ensures constant temperature throughout the oven.
Industrial ovens are ideal for numerous mission-critical applications, including heat treating, composite curing, and finishing, among others. Many standard industrial ovens meet specific application requirements within the aerospace industry. But chances are good that you’ll need a custom-designed oven for boosting the quality of aerospace parts. The information cited above will help you obtain the right industrial oven for your aerospace application.
If you still have questions about buying an aerospace oven, check out our field guide to buying an aerospace-grade industrial oven. Or you can call our skilled customer service team to assist you. Please call 952-649-6529.