New method forms aerospace components out of titanium raw material at elevated temperatures

Spirit AeroSystems will be transitioning its new titanium fabrication technology from laboratory to the factory, creating aerospace components which are light, strong and manufactured with less waste of raw materials.

The commercial and defence aerostructure manufacturer will be implementing its Joule Form process, a proprietory method which has been developed by Spirit for forming titanium raw material at elevated temperatures in the fabrication of aerospace components.

Parts formed out of titanium plates

The Joule Form process allows Spirit to form parts out of titanium plates rather than relying on machining large blocks of titanium. This significantly reduces waste and decreases the amount of machining. The process was internally developed as part of one of Spirit’s key research focus areas, the Lean Metallic Structures Distinctive Capability.

Joule Form technology can be used on aircraft components which are machined from plates or forgings. The technology is specifically suitable for materials hard to machine and expensive to procure such as titanium and steel alloys.

Spirit AeroSystems senior vice president and chief technology and quality officer, John Pilla, said: “We are the first in the aerospace industry to use this high-tech solution. The implementation of the Joule Form process allows for more advanced production of titanium parts, such as those on Spirit’s propulsion, fuselage and wing products. This approach offers a host of benefits that ultimately reduce costs and drive greater efficiencies.”

Kevin Matthies, Spirit’s senior vice president of Global Fabrication, added: “This emerging manufacturing improvement can replace more expensive techniques. We want to build high-quality products in a cost-effective way. This is a great example of improving a process to better serve our customers.”