When it comes to aircraft performance, failure is not an option. The thousands of parts that make up an aircraft must be manufactured and finished to exact specifications to ensure its safe operation. Burrs and other surface imperfections can have a negative impact on aircraft part performance. These burrs must be smoothed and polished away before the parts are suitable for use in aircraft assembly.

Abrasive flow machining (AFM) is one of the most effective ways to smooth and polish aircraft parts to precise specifications. During the abrasive flow process, an abrasive flow media is extruded along the outer surfaces and through the inner passages of a part. The abrasive flow media smooths, polishes, and erodes away surface blemishes. AFM can be used on a wide range of metals used in aircraft construction, including steel, aluminum, and titanium.

Why Abrasive Flow Machining?

It’s easy to understand why so many leading aerospace manufacturers use AFM as part of their manufacturing process. AFM provides many benefits to manufacturers in the aerospace industry, including improved function, reliability, and performance of aircraft parts and components. Advantages include:

  • Accurate and repeatable results with shorter cycle times.
  • Produces finishes much smoother and more uniform compared to other finishing methods.
  • Ideal for parts with complex geometries and internal passages that may be impossible to access using other finishing processes.
  • Reduced surface roughness.
  • In many cases, AFM is more cost-effective than other finishing methods.

Deburring, relieving surface stresses, radiusing, polishing, surface improvement, and finishing hard-to-reach inner surfaces and passages are just a few of the applications AFM is used for in the manufacturing of parts used by the aerospace industry.

Abrasive Flow Media in the AFM Process

The outcome of any AFM job depends on the abrasive flow media used during the finishing process. If the media isn’t abrasive enough, the parts may not be deburred or smoothed to specifications. If the media is too abrasive, the parts can become damaged.

Many different abrasive materials are used in abrasive flow media. These include aluminum oxide, silicon carbide, and industrial diamonds. Abrasive materials are available in many different grit sizes, shapes, densities, and hardness. This allows the abrasive flow media to be specially formulated for use on specific construction materials.

Deburring & Finishing Technologies: Abrasive Flow Machining Services for the Aerospace Industry

Deburring & Finishing Technologies offers a complete line of products and services that meet the demanding needs of today’s aerospace manufacturers, including abrasive flow machining services, custom abrasive flow media (we offer more than 50 different abrasive flow media options and can re-engineer our abrasive flow media to meet the unique requirements of aerospace manufacturers), and abrasive flow equipment. We have the resources and know-how to satisfy the most rigorous of standards.

In addition to the aerospace industry, Deburring & Finishing Technologies also serves manufacturers in the automotive, medical, electronics, firearms, and energy sectors. You can contact Deburring & Finishing Technologies through our website or call us at (412) 849-1522 to learn more about our abrasive machining deburring services and receive a free quote.