Spincraft Collaborates on Aviation Manufacturing Alternatives

Spincraft Collaborates on Aviation Manufacturing Alternatives

Spincraft has been a long-time supplier to the European aviation sector by leveraging its in-house spinning, shear forming and machining capabilities out of its Newcastle facilities. 

As part of the continuing initiatives to develop cost-effective manufacturing alternatives, Spincraft has an opportunity to impact an ATI-funded project by collaborating with Rolls-Royce and the Advanced Forming Research Centre. This project will examine the business case and technical considerations for a wider deployment of spun formed parts into aero-engine assemblies. The material utilization and lead time advantages over existing methods are thought to present a compelling case for process change.

Members of Spincraft’s Engineering and Manufacturing departments had the opportunity to visit the Rolls-Royce facility in Derby to discuss part layouts and potential solutions across current engine platforms including different hot section components where a one-piece spun option has the ability to accelerate lead times, improve quality and reduce costs vs alternative manufacturing approaches. Spincraft prides itself on long-term customer collaborations with leading firms like Rolls to identify and implement cost-effective ideas using our advanced metal forming capabilities. 

While onsite, our teammates were also treated to a tour of the Rolls-Royce Heritage Trust Exhibition. The Heritage collection is home to a noteworthy selection of historically significant Rolls-Royce engines. Additionally, the Centre displays a scale model of the Spirit of Innovation, the world’s record-winning fastest electric aircraft that reached a top speed of 555.9 km/h over 3 kilometers in 2021. 

Spincraft’s visit was a great reminder of the heritage and evolution of flight hardware development. The visit was productive in identifying new opportunities we can support in future aerospace development suitable for our processes of spinning, shear forming, press forming and flow forming. 

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.

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.

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.