EOS GmbH Electro Optical Systems, a manufacturer of laser sintering systems, has announced that Northwest UAV Propulsion Systems (NWUAV), an aerospace supplier, has purchased an EOSINT P 390 plastics laser-sintering machine. Northwest is using the equipment to produce high-quality aircraft components, including laser-sintered PA 2201 and PrimePart DC parts for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).
NWUAV manufactures complex cylinder head temperature controllers, cylinder head shrouds and a variety of other parts for UAVs from Insitu Inc.
"Our greatest concern is meeting the tight tolerances and consistent quality that aircraft designs require," says Chris Harris, president of NWUAV. "The EOSINT P 390 provides us with consistent, uniform, high-quality production parts that eliminate the need for secondary finishing operations such as sanding."
With assistance and training from EOS technicians, NWUAV was able to go from installation to part production on the P 390 in just ten days. An essential step in the process was tuning parameters to meet design criteria within 0.001".
Previously, NWUAV ordered the parts from an outside vendor and performed sanding and other finishing processes on them. Purchasing the P 390 and manufacturing the parts in-house has reduced the company's supply chain and infrastructure costs such as part inspection, inventory, and storage. Northwest is now able to supply the components just-in-time and implement design changes within a couple of days versus weeks.
"The use of rapid manufacturing is booming in the aerospace industry," says Jim Fendrick, vice president of EOS North America.