Solving Defense Sector Safety Challenges with Metal Formed Solutions

Finished Turret Bulkhead

Solving Defense Sector Safety Challenges with Metal Formed Solutions

Spincraft prides itself on working closely with our customers to solve their most advanced metal forming challenges using our unique capabilities and industry expertise. A prime example of putting our precision engineering experience and expertise to the test is collaborating with customers in the defense sector where quality products are absolute requirements. One such recent customer we seek to highlight, Kongsberg, produces remote weapon systems solutions delivered to nearly 30 countries worldwide.

The Problem Presented

In 2018, this customer was keen on looking into defense manufacturers that could manufacture fabricated turrets for armored fighting vehicles. With Spincraft’s history supporting the defense sector, we were approached about revising a critical part of the vehicle’s design.

When looking at an armored fighting vehicle, a turret with its weapons system and munitions storage sits on top, and typically, crew members operate from within this turret. Our design was focused on a new way of thinking that would provide a much higher level of protection for the crew by enabling them to remain completely within the hull of the vehicle using a remote weapons system and keeping them away from the munitions storage. A critical part of the crew protection system is the armored bulkhead which is the barrier between the crew and ballistic or explosive threats acting on the turret.

A typical conventionally fabricated armored turret bulkhead will need to allow full articulation of any weapons systems in the turret including large angles of elevation. This causes a significant loss of crew space beneath the turret or requires a higher vehicle silhouette, neither of which are good solutions. By collaborating with the customer, Spincraft was able to provide design for manufacture guidelines to develop a high integrity, geometrically optimal bulkhead. This meant that full weapon system functionality could be accomplished without the need to compromise on crew safety, crew compartment space or vehicle silhouette.  

The main weapon system elevation requirement encroaches into the crew area in the vehicle hull.

Initial Bulkhead vehicle design

New spun formed solution allows full elevation, maintains low vehicle silhouette and maintains the crew’s safety.

The Spincraft Solution

Spincraft delivered a first-of-its-kind solution as the only company in the world that has spun formed armor plate offering the following combined value proposition:

  • Greatly reduced product cost with a near-net offering
  • Uncompromised part strength with a single-piece construction that eliminated welds and potential failure points of a fabricated approach
  • A complete ‘assembly ready’ solution with a slew-ring mounted armor hatch, latching system, locks and handles, painting to NATO specifications and all markings and labels added for vehicle fitment readiness
  • Spinning to a complex contour that enabled greater headspace inside the armored vehicle and permitted the crew to maneuver the remote weapons system to reach a broader range of angles
UK Defense Solution

We connected with Swedish Steel, a supplier of our leading Oil & Gas spun solutions, as they make a wide variety of armored plates. They were able to supply trial material for Spincraft to perform a formability assessment. These sub-scale parts were supplied for careful evaluation using industry-standard ballistic testing methods and test criteria. After successful outcomes from both forming trials and ballistic assessment, our engineers discussed outcomes with Kongsberg and were able to recommend design edits that ensured we could meet their design briefing most cost-effectively.

With a few modifications to meet the outcomes of trials, Spincraft first manufactured a stainless steel demonstrator and then an armored plate demonstrator unit that successfully met our customer’s requirements and solved their challenges.

Contact Us

Standex Engineering Technology Group and its Spincraft businesses are a proud strategic manufacturing partner to leading defense OEMs and Tier 1s across the world. To tackle your most challenging metal forming designs in the most cost-effective manner, reach out to our expert metal forming colleagues today.

Manufacturing Solutions for Medical Technology

Medical Systems MRI Machine

Manufacturing Solutions for Medical Technology

Manufacturing Cryogenic Pressure Vessel Heads for MRI Scanners

Standex Engineering Technologies Group and its Spincraft UK business, a leading metal forming solutions provider in Newcastle in the North East of the United Kingdom, has manufactured thousands of cryogenic pressure vessel heads for MRI scanners used in the medical imaging industry. Spincraft is the leading supplier of these components that are critical to the function of MRI scanners like the Siemens Magnetom, an industry leader in accuracy and resolution with over 30 thousand units shipped over the last three decades.

Patient undergoing an MRI procedure

The Origins of our Involvement

Spincraft has been involved with the system manufacturer since the early days of widespread MRI use in clinical environments. We have collaborated closely with our customer’s design team to understand their technical needs and concerns. Decades of building a relationship and prioritizing customer intimacy allowed Spincraft to design our forming solutions with the flexibility to respond to and accommodate substantial design changes as scanner technology has advanced while keeping costs within the customer’s budget.

Over the years, Spincraft has developed new forming methods and processes to meet the increasingly demanding tolerance requirements that MRI scanner pressure vessels require. The design of these structures has changed to be lighter and more cost-efficient, with more power and better imaging that drives thinner but stiffer vessel construction. As these designs have evolved, the need for component repeatability and maintaining cost efficiency has not wavered.

Lifting the Lid on the MRI Scanner’s Internal Construction

Most people only see the outside plastic covers on an MRI scanner. Underneath this is the main pressure vessel assembly known as the Cryostat. The Cryostat has three layers with formed metal components made by Spincraft.

The outer layer is known as the Outer Vacuum Chamber (OVC). This stainless steel OVC keeps the contents of the Cryostat under a vacuum to help with conductive insulation, much like a thermos flask keeping heat out of the contents rather than keeping heat in. 

The next layer is a Thermal Shield made from aluminium. It has a highly reflective surface that helps provide a barrier to heat transmission by radiation.

Inside the Shield is the Helium Vessel (HeV) that contains the liquid Helium and a selection of electromagnets.

MRI head
Cut-away of MRI Cryostat Construction with Spun-formed ends

Why is this needed?

At the core of the MRI scanner are a number of extremely powerful electromagnets that have many thousands of times the power of the Earth’s magnetic field. These magnets align protons to create the images needed for clinical examination. These magnets are cooled by the liquid helium until they superconduct — requiring significantly less electrical power.

The Cryostat must maintain these cryogenic temperatures and vacuum pressures to keep the magnets superconducting. Vessel heads made by Spincraft are an essential part of cryostat performance. When the vacuum is applied, the Spincraft heads are subjected to an atmospheric force of about 35 tonnes (77,000 lbs) and maintain the critical alignment between the outer vessel shells and inner bore tubes without fail.

Our customer has continually relied on Spincraft to deliver thousands of parts that consistently meet the most stringent quality requirements needed for accurate medical diagnosis and advanced neurological research.

The Manufacturing Process

The experienced Spincraft team has undertaken years of methodical improvement to streamline and optimize the manufacturing process. Our current process looks like this:

1.  An operator moves the material to the plasma profiling machine where a unique serial number is assigned for part traceability in the entire manufacturing sequence.

2.  A square plate is cut into a circle for the spin forming process. The surfaces and edges are cleaned for safety and quality.

3.  The inside diameter of the part has a weld prep machined in place.

4.  The parts are spun formed using a multi-stage CNC process with multiple tools to ensure all requirements are met.

5.  After forming, the part is fully inspected and validated against the customer’s requirements.

6.  Once confirmed correct, the part is prepared and packed for shipment.

Contact Us

The Spincraft team has a proven track record as an innovative solutions provider in the medical technology sector, as well as other industries including Aerospace and Defence. We encourage you to contact a Spincraft representative to discuss how we can collaborate and support your most advanced metal forming needs.

EVENT: DPRTE 2024

DPRTE UK Defence Event 2024

EVENT: DPRTE 2024

Defence - Procurement - Research - Technology - Exportability

DPRTE UK Defence Event 2024

Spincraft will be exhibiting at DPRTE 2024 on the Make UK stand.

Date: Wednesday 27 March 2024 

Time: 9AM – 4PM

Location: Farnborough International | Exhibition & Conference Centre

Booth: MU7

From Newcastle to Jupiter

Finished Fuel Tank Dome

From Newcastle to Jupiter

Major news for the European Space Agency (ESA) and Airbus as the Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer (JUICE) spacecraft has officially launched from the spaceport in French Guiana on the Ariane 5 rocket. The successful launch occurred on April 14th.

Spincraft is thrilled to play a part in deep space exploration via our advanced metal forming solutions. The Spincraft UK facility produced domes used to manufacture JUICE’s propellant tank, one of the largest titanium tanks ever built for satellite propulsion systems. Spincraft work entailed the forming, pre-machining and heat treatment of tank domes that were used in both pre-launch ground testing as well as for flight hardware.

JUICE program metal being formed into a fuel tank
Spincraft Dome Forming
Spincraft UK metal forming

JUICE is embarking on an eight-year journey that will arrive at Jupiter in 2031. The mission will observe Jupiter and its largest icy moons: Callisto, Europa and Ganymede. The goal is to monitor, experiment and determine if these environments have conditions that can harbor life.

The JUICE vehicle will travel from Earth to Venus where it will pick up a gravity boost. From there it will make various fly-by passes to Earth as it picks up speed from gravity and moves out from the inner solar system, aided by momentum, on its 500-million-mile journey to Jupiter. It will use the Jovian gravity field to decelerate at the other end. The fuel tank is for smaller maneuvers rather than providing for the main thrust to get to Jupiter.

Spincraft UK JUICE Dome
Finished Fuel Tank Dome

Spincraft is looking forward to following the progress JUICE makes along its journey. Learn more about our capabilities and space systems solutions by clicking Here. Please reach out to our team to discuss how we can solve your most critical metal forming challenges.

Spincraft Receives Airbus D2P Supplier Award

Airbus Award for Spincraft

Spincraft Receives Airbus D2P Supplier Award

Airbus Award for Spincraft

Spincraft, a Standex Engineering Technologies Group company, is pleased to announce that we were recently recognized at the annual Airbus Detail Parts Partner Conference and Awards (D2P) held on March 14th in France.

Spincraft received an award under the Specialist category for strong contributions and superior performance over the last year, specifically great collaboration, delivery and performance by the Spincraft WI team on A320neo lipskins and the Spincraft UK site’s proactive approach to developing prototype hardware solutions for the ZEROe initiative.

This award is a direct result of Spincraft’s proven track record of sustaining operational reliability, delivering on our commitments, cultivating customer intimacy and supplying cost-effective advanced metal forming solutions.

A big congratulations to our global Spincraft team for making this possible. Contact us to discuss how we can support your manufacturing challenges.

Richard J. Morganti Scholarship Recipient

Richard Morganti Scholarship Recipient

Richard J. Morganti Scholarship Recipient 

Standex ETG is delighted to announce Dylan Ward as the recipient of the Richard J. Morganti ’82 Scholarship for the 2022-2023 academic year. Dylan is a freshman from Marshfield, Massachusetts majoring in Marine Engineering at Massachusetts Maritime Academy (MMA), Rich’s alma mater.

Here is what Dylan had to say about his recent experience this winter completing his first Sea Term:

Richard Morganti Scholarship Recipient

Sea Term definitely lived up to my expectations. I experienced things that I never had before because I have rarely left home. The ports we went to were exotic and beautiful. The days I spent on them were some of the greatest I’ve ever had. Sea Term was definitely harder than I expected. The schedule was constantly changing so you wouldn’t get much sleep. Every day you had a job, sometimes in the middle of the night, sometimes outside in the heat in the middle of the day. Living conditions were rough, as I slept in a hold with sixty other cadets my age. It did not smell good. We went through rough seas and worked tough jobs, but it was all worth it in the end. I did things that I never would have had the opportunity to do if I never came to Massachusetts Maritime Academy, like ride a jet ski and swim through a coral reef. The school is not easy and neither was Sea Term, but it has all been worth it so far. I enjoyed working on the ship and will continue learning more about Marine Engineering, so I can hopefully make a living on a ship when I graduate.

Congratulations to Dylan on his accomplishments and we wish him the best of luck with his academic journey! This scholarship was established in honor of ETG employee Rich Morganti, who graduated with the class of ’82. We are pleased to contribute in Rich’s memory to a worthy young man that is excited about his pursuits at MMA.

Specialty Manufacturing of Clad Lipskins

Aviation Engine Components

Specialty Manufacturing of Clad Lipskins

Metal Formed Clad Lipskin

Standex Engineering Technologies Group’s Spincraft business has tailored its innovative metal spinning capabilities to become a leading supplier to the aviation sector of nacelle inlet lipskins. Our teammates have leveraged industry knowledge and process expertise to successfully deliver manufactured solutions for the industry’s smallest and largest aircraft, meeting the highest requirements of consistency and quality. Spincraft know-how is relied on by many industry leaders for critical niche solutions, including the specialty manufacturing of clad aluminum lipskins that we are highlighting here.

Today, Spincraft is one of the very few manufacturers offering clad aluminum lipskin processing. Clad aluminum inlets provide a distinct set of characteristics that are valued within the business jet market. The base layer of the material maintains quality mechanical properties at elevated temperatures. The top layer allows for superior corrosion resistance and the ability to polish to a mirror-like finish. Therefore, a clad aluminum lipskin provides a combination of strength and beauty in the final product. Our business jet customers immediately notice the brilliance of these shining lipskins and they appreciate the longevity provided by this durable material.

The Spincraft technical team collaborated across sites to develop a streamlined manufacturing process that utilizes spinning technology to produce clad aluminum lipskins. The process requires specialized techniques to move the stronger base material in forming while not damaging or thinning the more delicate clad layer. This technique is a careful balance that Spincraft has achieved to meet demanding product tolerances and industry requirements. Additionally, Spincraft personnel have refined the necessary non-destructive inspection techniques that ensure the proper amount of cladding remains on the product at the conclusion of processing.

The Spincraft team has a proven track record as an innovative solutions provider to the aviation sector. We encourage you to contact a Spincraft representative to discuss how we can collaborate and support your metal forming needs.

Aviation Engine Components

Standex ETG selected by Airbus to support ZEROe aircraft development

Hydrogen H2 Zero Emission Adobe Stock

Standex Engineering Technologies Group selected by Airbus to support ZEROe aircraft development

Standex Engineering Technologies Group (ETG) has announced that its Spincraft business has received a contract from Airbus to manufacture prototype domes for the ZEROe aircraft cryogenic hydrogen storage tank. The contract expands Spincraft’s support of Airbus solutions beyond single-piece lipskins for the inlets on the A320neo family.

Hydrogen H2 Zero Emission Adobe Stock

The ZEROe initiative represents Airbus’s commitment to putting into service the world’s first commercial zero-emissions aircraft by 2035. One of the most important and innovative technologies needed to achieve this goal is the effective in-flight storage of liquid hydrogen fuel. Spincraft will manufacture the first sets of tank dome hardware to support Airbus’s development efforts in this area.

This prototype tank development will leverage Spincraft’s decades of experience forming domes for space launch vehicle cryogenic fuel tanks to deliver a cost-effective solution. Spincraft will produce single-piece spun and machined domes out of its UK facility located in Newcastle upon Tyne.

“We are excited to deliver a component that is so critical for making the future of hydrogen-powered flight a reality,” said Don Murray, Managing Director of Spincraft UK. “This work reflects our North East site’s evolution into a leading advanced metal forming solutions provider in the European aerospace and defense markets.”

Len Paolillo, President of Standex ETG commented, “This contract marks a key milestone in bringing our space dome heritage to the high-growth aviation market. ETG’s leading capabilities in design collaboration and CNC spin-forming position us well to support Airbus development efforts that will culminate in the world’s first zero-emission commercial aircraft.”

About Standex Engineering Technologies Group (ETG): Standex ETG leverages best-in-class metal forming technologies through partnerships in industry-leading consortiums and customer intimacy to design and manufacture cost-effective solutions for customers on their advanced designs in the aviation, space, defense, and energy markets. Our team establishes deep organizational relationships enabling us to collaborate with OEMs and Tier 1 customers to reduce costs and complexity across an unmatched range of formed sizes, shapes, and alloys, using conventional and innovative methods across a range of specialty equipment.

Satellite propellant tank solution highlights Spincraft capabilities in European Space

Spincraft UK metal formed solution for space

Satellite propellant tank solution highlights Spincraft capabilities in European Space

The European space sector is experiencing a period of tremendous investment, growth and innovation. Spincraft UK, a Standex Engineering Technologies Group (ETG) company, has emerged as a valued supply chain partner to spacecraft manufacturers and Tier 1s in Europe. We have the advanced metal forming capabilities, processes, experience and certifications to deliver reliable, cost-effective solutions. 

Core in-house capabilities at Spincraft UK include Spinning, Shear forming, Press forming, Machining and Fabrication. We also possess a robust supply chain with Heat Treat and other specialty services.

Spincraft UK Metal Formed Satelllite Tank

Prototype Tank Design

Recently we had the opportunity to assist a significant European satellite OEM on a project to manufacture the prototype propellant tank for their next-generation spacecraft. With the landscape of satellite tanks shifting to demisable aluminum structures that disintegrate upon re-entry into the atmosphere, our partner sought potential alternatives to their existing supply chain. Although this customer had a strong background in tank design, Spincraft was able to secure the work due to our industry and material experience, prototyping collaboration and convenient UK location. This project demonstrated Spincraft’s leading capabilities to this customer. It also served as a great learning experience for our team due to the challenging problem-solving required.

Keeping within cost constraints was critical for the customer. Knowing budget overruns were unacceptable, our team identified and executed part design modifications taking cost out while still producing a conforming unit. Customer collaboration and intimacy like this set the Spincraft team apart. 

Putting our Global Expertise to Work

Though this was not a large tank, roughly only 1.5ft (0.5m) in diameter, aluminum construction was not typical as the UK site usually handled domes of more exotic materials including titanium and nickel-based superalloys. To execute the project most efficiently we leveraged our European dome pedigree with engineering expertise across ETG. Cross-site pollination devised the best method of manufacturing and custom tooling design to deliver required tolerances within cost parameters.

Spincraft first tapped its supply chain partners to obtain the desired pre-machined round preform. We then got to work performing the precision machining and generation of the prototype’s final parts. Visual storyboarding was a vital element in the machining sequence to the required contours. This visual aid offered a guide to outline the many steps needed to put together the completed fixture. Once both the upper and lower domes were machine-finished, Spincraft performed assembly fit-up checks to confirm that the weld interface region between the parts was suitable for downstream assembly in a cleanroom environment.

Close up Spincraft UK Satellite Dome

The Spincraft UK team faced a customer challenge with a non-typical material for the planned application, requiring absolute quality, cost control and precision. We used customer intimacy, cross-site collaboration and domestic production capabilities to successfully deliver this prototype to the customer within budget.  

Connect with Us

The Spincraft team is a proven solutions provider in the European space market. Reach out to discuss how we can collaborate and support your metal forming needs. 

Standex ETG Contributes Hardware to the Artemis Program

NASA’s Space Launch System

Standex ETG Contributes Hardware to the Artemis Program

Now is an exciting time to be connected and involved with the space market as the Boeing Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and the Lockheed Orion Spacecraft are back on the launch pad in preparation for the Artemis I Mission. November 16th is the scheduled launch date for this mission to make strides to bring human life back to the moon. 

The Artemis I mission is the first flight for the SLS rocket and has a total mission duration of 42 days. During this launch, the Orion crew capsule will fly around the moon before reentry into Earth’s atmosphere. This mission will act as a dry run for Artemis II, the first crewed mission for NASA’s Orion spacecraft.

Credit: NASA

Spincraft Metal Formed Dome on Orion

Credit: NASA

Showcasing Our Hardware

Artemis SLS Rocket Diagram

Standex Engineering Technologies Group (ETG) and the Spincraft team supplied numerous hardware components on this NASA rocket. Our Spincraft MA site produced the aft bulkhead for the Orion crew capsule, the SLS rocket core stage aft manifold, as well as multiple fuel tank domes. The domes we manufactured for United Launch Alliance’s (ULA) Delta IV rocket were repurposed for the upper stage and we also manufactured the LOX and LH2 dome caps for the core stage. The Spincraft UK site supported this mission as well, forming a separator cone found in the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle (MPCV).

To learn more about ETG’s capabilities and solutions for the space sector, Click Here. We invite you connect with us and learn about how we can solve your most critical metal forming challenges with cost-effective solutions that will eliminate welds and reduce input weight.