Machining for space where you don't have a second chance.

Author:Fox, Mary E.
Position:Computer-aided design and manufacturing in aerospace parts production

Machining for space where you don't have a second chance

"You can't pull a jet fighter off to the side of the road to check the engine," says Bob Torgusen, president and CEO of ABA Industries, Pinellas Park, FL. "Flight-hardware reliability is of paramount importance to any company that manufactures parts and assemblies for jet engines. Whether the part is for a rocket engine, where you get only one shot, or for aircraft carrying human beings, safety, reliability, and accuracy are always our foremost considerations at ABA."

ABA Industries is a second-tier contract supplier servicing the aerospace industry. The company has established a reputation as an industry leader in supplying high-quality precision parts and fabricated products to the aerospace industry. It's 100% certified to produce a variety of flight hardware for commercial and military aircraft, including engines for the Boeing 747, the F-15 and F-16 fighter planes, and the most recent addition to strategic fighters, the Advanced Tactical Fighter. The company has no proprietary products and establishes its manufacturing base entirely from customer prints and drawings via the competitive bidding process.

ABA specializes in high-temperature alloy machining and welding. Working with exotic materials such as Hastelloy [TM], Rene, Inconel, titanium, and advanced aluminum-based alloys, the firm fabricates sophisticated aircraft-engine parts for companies such as General Electric, Grumman, Hamilton Standard, Raytheon, Rolls-Royce, Pratt & Whitney, and the US Department of Defense. A subsidiary of Heroux Industries, the Canadian manufacturer of aircraft landing gear, ABA employs 300 people in its Pinellas Park and San Jose, Costa Rica, plants.

Computer aid

ABA performs a number of special machining, welding, and fabrication processes in its facility. Operators use the latest CNC machines to perform precision machining from two-axis to full five-axis, generating products within tolerances of 0.0005". ABA employs vertical turning centers that can machine precision parts from 2" to 90" dia and horizontal milling machines with full five-axis contouring in a 60" cube.

Five-axis technology for current and future applications is a major part of the work, as far as ABA is concerned. At the heart of the five-axis machining capability is the SABRE-5000 CAD/CAM system, manufactured by Gerber Systems Technology, South Windsor, CT. The system is an advanced mechanical CAD/CAM/CIM workstation used for...

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