When a new aerospace material is being developed, the companies or organizations involved must always consider the tooling that will be necessary to see it into production. Belgian tooling specialist Elsyca claims that its newly announced tooling design service for companies involved in coating and plating parts—notably high-pressure turbine blades, nozzles, and guide vanes; landing gear; and hydraulic actuation components—can provide up to a 30% reduction in lead times, a 20% reduction in materials wastage, and a 10% reduction in manpower.
Elsyca, a spinoff from the University of Brussels and the von Karman Institute for Fluid Dynamics, works with OEM and MRO aero-engine and component businesses to optimize electrochemical processes. Luc Wanten, Managing Director of Elsyca, regards the key to obtaining maximum tooling performance as being the ability to be flexible in the design process.
“However,” he said, “the optimum tooling setup for each task is impossible to determine using the traditional route—i.e., physical trial and error.”
But, said Wanten, Elsyca’s design service, which is CAD/CAE-driven, is based on validated computational models of electrochemical processes.
“It is the result of 25 years’ fundamental research, and it brings flexibility to tooling design for the first time, enabling a standard tooling design to be cost-effectively tailored to each manufacturer’s specific requirements,” he said. “It takes out time-consuming de-embrittlement steps, halves the grinding required to eradicate coating excesses, and cuts costly raw-material consumption. In high-end nickel and platinum plating of nozzle guide vanes, which must be done to precise minimum and maximum specifications, significant benefits can be gained.”
Elsyca could measure and refine plating bath characteristics, their electrical conductivity, plating efficiency, and polarization behavior. “This will improve the consistency and thickness of the plating, thus minimizing materials usage [platinum materials savings of 14% have been achieved] and maximizing yield.”