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 team produced the aft bulkhead for the Orion crew capsule. The domes we provided United Launch Alliance’s (ULA) Delta IV rocket were repurposed for the upper stage. Additionally, we manufactured the LOX and LH2 dome caps for the core stage and the aft manifold.

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.

Spincraft UK: A fundamental supplier to next-gen engine development

Metal Formed Canister for the Aviation sector

Standex ETG’s Spincraft UK: A fundamental supplier to next-generation engine development

Standex Engineering Technologies Group (ETG) once again highlights the growing success of our Spincraft UK business. Spincraft’s demonstrated performance and increasing supply chain collaboration has led to its involvement in servicing two new technologies for a next-generation aircraft engine development program.

Metal Formed Canister

Spincraft played a critical part in supporting an important European Tier 1 at the design stage of manufacturing components within the same structure. This firm developed an engine casing utilizing a new powder Hot Isostatic Pressing (HIP) technology. With this powder being expensive, it was vital to accurately match the complex profile geometry requirements. The inner and outer parts of the canister both have a diameter of about 6ft (1.8m).

For the first element of this project, Spincraft UK supported the Advanced Forming Research Centre (AFRC) at the University of Strathclyde. We assisted in developing a high-complexity gearbox cover for a mutual customer. Our Newcastle UK site offered a combination of spin forming and press forming processes, coupled with an experienced supply chain, to efficiently produce this prototype part in a difficult-to-form precipitation hardening steel at a competitive price.

ITP Aero Metal Component

By using the HIP process, Spincraft was able to reduce input material, machining cycle times and energy consumption within the part’s production. HIP entails pressing a powdered superalloy at high pressure within a Spincraft-manufactured canister that produces the desired near-net geometry. The Spincraft solution of a spun form canister, free of any welded joints and minimizing material waste, provided a cost-effective solution suitable for serial production. This project leveraged our technical expertise in the aviation market across Standex ETG.

The Tier 1’s buyer on the program praised the partnership by saying, “It has been a very good example of a joined team working together to achieve the objective, with very satisfactory final results.”

“Our successes in this engine program speaks to the talent of our team members. By achieving these cutting-edge technical solutions, we’ve increased the adoption of our technologies by leading engine manufacturers in the development, and ultimately serial production, phase of next-generation aviation offerings,” remarked Len Paolillo, President of Standex ETG.

 “Our team is excited to collaborate with customers to identify and design new metal forming solutions that provide breakthrough performance and cost improvements for their next-generation aviation platforms.”

Spincraft UK Hits Manufacturing Milestone

Ship Stock Photo for Energy Market

Spincraft UK Hits Manufacturing Milestone

Most know Standex Engineering Technologies Group (ETG) and its Spincraft businesses are recognized widely for innovative metal formed solutions used in Aerospace and Defense. But did you know we are also a leading manufacturing solutions provider in other markets such as Energy?

ETG’s Spincraft UK site recently celebrated manufacturing their 10,000th spun-formed flexible joint element. These elements are vital components of complex assemblies in oil and gas market exploration and extraction operations.

Oil and Gas Shim
Energy Flexjoint Shim
Metal Formed Shims Nested

Flexible joints have multiple uses in the industry. They couple oil and gas pipes to surface vessels or platforms and seabed structures. These are often situated miles below the surface under incredible pressures. Flexible joints also function as anchor bearings for Tendon Leg Platforms (TLP) where they are used to keep the platform on station. Joints are required to keep platforms and their crew safe even amidst the most violent storms, where loads on the joint can exceed 4000 tonnes (9 million lbs). For these critical roles, you can trust Spincraft parts to perform flawlessly.

Over 20+ years, Spincraft has developed and optimized the proprietary process used to cold spin-form this solution for integration into the next level assembly for multiple industry leaders. We consistently meet or exceed our customers’ specifications on several challenging high-strength alloys with a tensile strength of over 1000Mpa/145 KSI. Here’s to the next 10,000!

Forming in Process for Energy Parts
Two Metal Formed Shims

To learn more about our energy market capabilities and solutions, Click Here. Reach out to learn how Standex ETG and Spincraft can solve your most critical metal formed needs in nearly every market.

Innovation in Large Aircraft Lipskin Manufacturing

Manufactured lipskin

Innovation in Large Aircraft Lipskin Manufacturing

Standex Engineering Technologies Group (ETG) takes pride in leveraging decades of experience to solve our customers’ challenges. We do this by providing new innovative metal formed solutions. Today, we are highlighting our lipskin manufacturing efforts.

Unlocking More Fuel Efficient Designs

The commercial aerospace industry is committed to reaching net zero carbon emissions by mid-century. With significant research initiatives, the industry is actively developing hydrogen, electric, hybrid and 100% sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) powered aircraft. In the meantime, airframers, nacelle and engine manufacturers are seeking nearer-term paths to reduce their carbon emissions and costs on new and in-development aircraft. One way they can do this is by increasing fuel efficiency through engine and nacelle design. Several aerospace leaders seek to use laminar flow surfaces. Using these will reduce nacelle drag and deliver the desired fuel efficiency gains.

Vertical lipskin aircraft engine component
Manufactured lipskin
Inner Lipskin

To further the research into this field, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of aerostructures sought to verify the viability of manufacturing a nacelle inlet lipskin for a large, long-range aircraft that could meet the tolerances needed for laminar flow. The aluminum alloy lipskin demonstrator they designed for this effort measured approximately 15 feet in diameter, nearly 4 feet on its extended outside leg and most importantly was a monolithic construction. This desired part presented a major manufacturing challenge but would offer a large step forward in the company’s knowledge base enabling new and noteworthy technical achievements.

Finding a True Manufacturing Partner

Through collaboration with ETG’s Spincraft business, the aerostructures manufacturer tackled this unique metal forming challenge. The firm recognized Spincraft’s earned pedigree of forming large metallic structures to precise contours and tolerances for leading space and aviation applications. Delivered out of ETG’s Spincraft MA facility in North Billerica, the project required innovative tooling and forming processes to fabricate the demonstrator successfully. Standex ETG engineers devised and developed a new patented process to produce the desired large monolithic lipskin envelope that could be machined to final shape.

Spincraft MA Team with lipskin

As with many experimental efforts, this project was not without challenges – particularly machining the innermost section of the lipskin with available assets and development time constraints. However, upon inspection, the majority of the part achieved required waviness requirements and any deviations were deemed resolvable.

The customer’s project was published in a research paper and presented at the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics’ Scitech 2022 Forum. A link to the paper and presentation can be found here.

Your Advanced Metal Formed Solutions Provider

The Standex ETG team is proud of its achievement in delivering this innovative metal forming solution and is keen to continue working at the leading edge of aerospace manufacturing. Reach out to us with your most complex designs to learn how Standex ETG can support you.

Spincraft UK Opens its Doors to Chi Onwurah MP for National Manufacturing Day

Make UK , Spincraft and MP of Newcastle Central

On July 7, 2022, Spincraft UK enjoyed welcoming Chi Onwurah, MP for Newcastle Central, to its Benwell facility for an in-depth site tour demonstrating our advanced metal forming capabilities. Managing Director Don Murray and staff proudly provided the facility tour. They highlighted many of Spincraft’s core solutions that are critical for the global aerospace, medical, defence and energy sectors.

 

“It was a pleasure to introduce Chi Onwurah to the people and products of Spincraft. Her natural affinity for Engineering and Manufacturing was evident and made our discussions both easy and insightful,” said Don Murray.

 

National Manufacturing Day at Spincraft UK

 

Some of the vital solutions Ms. Onwurah was introduced to by the team included MRI scanner vessel ends, space launch-vehicle hardware and other precision-engineered products. The Spincraft team shared an overview of where these manufactured solutions can be found in new generation space launch vehicles and satellites, medical imaging devices, deepwater rigs and more.

 

In an article posted by The Manufacturer, Chi Onwurah was quoted saying, “I was delighted to visit Spincraft and hear about their plans to grow their crucial, specialist manufacturing business. It was thrilling to learn that components of rockets that go to Jupiter and beyond are being made by the Tyne in Benwell.”

 

Chi Onwurah MP Visiting Spincraft UK

 

Newcastle has a significant manufacturing history and Spincraft UK has decades of experience contributing to the North East manufacturing sector. The Benwell and Newburn Spincraft sites are currently in a growth phase as they begin transforming from manufacturing traditional metal spinning products to increasingly higher specification and value complex solutions. The site stands poised to shape the next generation of global space flight, zero-emission aviation and nuclear energy.

 

This visit was in partnership with Make UK’s National Manufacturing Day initiatives. The goal of National Manufacturing Day is for UK manufacturers to showcase uniquely specialized in-house technologies to their local community while raising awareness of the benefits manufacturing provides to various markets that influence our everyday life. Additionally, this event provided exposure to well-paid career opportunities within manufacturing.

 

Sample Metal Forming Solutions

 

Learn more about Spincraft UK’s capabilities and how we can solve your sector’s most challenging forming needs with cost-effective advanced metal forming solutions. Visit our website for more information on our in-house assets and diverse portfolio of solutions, click here.

NOx Recovery Project

Spincraft MA, National Grid and KGC Sheet Metal collaboration

Standex Operational Excellence

The Standex Operational Excellence (OpEx) Council was recently tasked by our CEO, David Dunbar, with developing a method to monitor Spincraft MA‘s carbon footprint and impact on climate change. This work was part of a larger initiative to measure emissions consistently across the global Standex network of businesses to provide input into our overall ESG rating. An ESG rating assesses a corporation’s long-term exposure to environmental, social and governance risks.

The OpEx Council identified four main categories for our environmental key performance indicators (KPIs):

  1. Climate Change – Decreasing carbon emissions and fossil fuel use by improving carbon-intensive practices (carbon footprint).
  2. Natural Resources – Conserving water and other natural resources while sourcing raw materials.
  3. Pollution & Waste – Reducing solid waste, packaging material, toxic emissions and water pollution.
  4. Environmental Opportunities – Implementing green building practices and improving energy efficiency.

NOx Recovery Project Signing Paperwork

The Spincraft MA team launched its green initiatives work earlier this month. One of the largest opportunities identified to reduce carbon emissions was the design, fabrication and installation of a NOx exhaust system on our large spin lathes, the center of our advanced metal-forming solutions. This initiative will enhance factory safety by improving the working environment for employees, as well as lowering the site’s annual usage of natural gas and electricity.

The anticipated annual savings of 139,502 kWh of electricity and 33,178 therms of natural gas driven by this project will result in the equivalency of removing 236.3 metric tons of CO2 from the atmosphere.

The above number is equivalent to greenhouse gas emissions from:

  • 50.9 gasoline-powered passenger vehicles driven for one year
  • 45.9 homes’ electricity use for one year
  • 28,707,665 smartphones charged

This project will include collaboration between Spincraft’s leadership including Ryan Farley, Frank Woods and Mike Arsenault; National Grid‘s Daniel Sancomb; and KGC Sheet Metal‘s Ryan Cole. We are excited to work with our partners to implement the NOx recovery system to begin saving energy, creating a safer work environment and reducing Spincraft’s carbon footprint!

Spincraft MA, National Grid and KGC Sheet Metal collaboration

Spincraft Completes Last Dome for Delta IV

97: First Delta IV Rocket Fuel Tank Dome Delivered
2021: Final Delta IV Rocket Fuel Tank Dome and the Spincraft Team
2021: Final Delta IV Dome and the Spincraft Team

October marked a momentous occasion for Standex Engineering Technologies Group (Standex ETG) as our Spincraft Massachusetts facility spun its final fuel tank dome in support of United Launch Alliance’s (ULA) Delta IV rocket program after almost 25 years of close partnership.

 

For more than 20 years, our Spincraft MA facility has supplied continuous production on domes for ULA’s Delta IV rockets. Before becoming a part of ULA’s product line in 2006, the Delta IV rocket was designed for the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) program by Boeing’s Defense, Space and Security division. Delta IV has served a vital role in providing lift capabilities for high priority U.S. Space Force, National Reconnaissance Office and NASA payloads.

 

Spincraft’s capabilities significantly benefited the Delta IV program by increasing performance while reducing the part count and complexity of the overall vehicle. Previously, the technology initially utilized for making these domes was gore panels. Spincraft’s spinning technology and process expertise allowed Boeing to produce a 5-meter dome out of a single piece of aluminum, eliminating the need for welds, reducing many hours of costly assembly time and reducing the overall weight of the part.

 

97: First Delta IV Rocket Fuel Tank Dome Delivered
1997: First Delta IV Dome Delivered

Spincraft successfully delivered the first Delta IV dome to Boeing in 1997. The first launch occurred in November of 2002. Since then, our team has continued to support ULA’s mission by supplying a total of 415 domes. These domes were an integral part of 41 Delta IV launches to date, including vital military, communications and weather satellites; the Orion Exploration Flight Test; and Parker Space Probe. The last Delta IV flight is scheduled to launch in 2024. 

 

As Delta IV production phases out, Spincraft has already pivoted to supporting early production volumes of Vulcan Centaur, ULA’s next-generation launch vehicle designed for higher performance and greater affordability slated for inaugural flight in 2022.

 

Over the last quarter-century, Spincraft has grown to become one of the most critical solutions suppliers to the space launch vehicle and space exploration markets. Our leading-edge forming processes and capabilities have made us a globally trusted partner for leading public and private companies, providing unsurpassed service and performance. 

Blue Origin: Proud Supplier 

Team Spincraft holding the Blue Origin Proud Supplier Flag

On September 15th, employees of Blue Origin made a site visit to Spincraft’s Massachusetts facility to recognize the team’s successful contributions to New Shepard and the program’s first human flight.

During their visit, Blue Origin shared video footage from their historic July 20 launch — a milestone moment for the future of spaceflight, the Blue Origin team and their first astronaut crew. The first private citizen passenger crew onboard consisted of Jeff Bezos, Mark Bezos, Wally Funk and Oliver Daemen.

Additional milestones include:

  • Jeff and Mark Bezos: the first siblings to go to space together.
  • Wally Funk: the oldest person to fly in space (age 82).
  • Oliver Daemen: the youngest person to travel to space (age 18) and the first person to purchase a ticket to space commercially.
  • New Shepard: the first commercial vehicle to fly paying customers to and from space.

The Blue Origin team expressed their gratitude for the fuel tank domes that Spincraft provided to make New Shepard’s mission triumphant. Providing these precisely manufactured parts helped ensure confidence among the first human flight travelers as they set foot onboard the rocket to make history. Blue Origin presented Spincraft with a banner to proudly convey our status as a Blue Origin supplier.

Spincraft and Standex Engineering Technologies Group are honored to have collaborated on and delivered yet another successful space systems solution to our customer, and to have been a key manufacturing partner to crewed space flight for more than three decades.

Team Spincraft holding the Blue Origin Proud Supplier Flag

Richard J. Morganti Scholarship Recipient Announced

Christopher Colbert, MMA

Standex ETG is happy to announce this year’s Richard J. Morganti Scholarship recipient, Christopher Colbert of Plymouth, Massachusetts. Christopher is a freshman majoring in Marine Engineering at Rich’s Alma Mater, the Massachusetts Maritime Academy (MMA).

Christopher said, “First off, I am very grateful to have received this scholarship. I have always wanted to go to MMA. My father and his brothers all attended, as well as my older sister and brother. I’ve seen what the school can do for a person through seeing what it has done for them. I hope to be able to do something for the school during my time here.”

This scholarship was established in honor of ETG employee and dear friend, Rich Morganti, who graduated with the class of ’82. We are happy to be able to contribute, in Rich’s memory, to a worthy young man that is excited about his pursuits at MMA. Congratulations Christopher! We wish you all the best in your academic pursuits at the Academy!