Mfg4 to Highlight Key Aerospace and Defense Manufacturing Practices

As manufacturers and suppliers are pressed to better innovate and drive technology development throughout the supply chain, new strategies are required for sharing knowledge between manufacturers, suppliers and other partners in the defense and aerospace industries – especially during a time when our nation is changing its overall defense strategies.

The new Mfg4 – Manufacturing 4 the Future event in Hartford, Conn., on May 8-10, 2012, is intended to remove traditional industry silos and unlock the innovation manufacturers need to adapt to changes in defense and energy policy, demographics and the economy. It was developed with the input of leading OEMs, including Boeing, Bombardier Aerospace, Pratt & Whitney, Raytheon and Sikorsky Aircraft.

“Mfg4 is a forum where engineers in manufacturing can learn how to truly innovate by cross collaborating with other industry sectors,” said Debbie Holton, SME director of events and industry strategy. “There are tremendous synergies among the four industries showcased at Mfg4. From the titanium that is machined for bone screws and turbine blisks to composites technology in wind energy and aerospace, there are numerous opportunities for engagement around new technologies and processes, which will be highlighted at the event.”

For engineering practitioners, OEMs and suppliers in the aerospace and defense industry, opportunities can be found in innovative technological applications that will help to make U.S. forces more nimble, weapons systems less vulnerable and more capable, data collection and sorting faster, and homeland defense missiles more accurate.

In addition to highlighting new ways to manage the strategy of defending our nation, a number of other solutions will be demonstrated at Mfg4 designed to benefit the medical and energy industries.

These types of solutions include:

  • Use of High-Temperature Materials to Boost Performance. Many aerospace manufacturers are specifying high-temperature materials that increase engine performance, boost thrust, improve fuel efficiency, reduce noise, and meet new safety standards – all while lowering overall manufacturing costs.  
  • Advancement of the Digital Thread in Manufacturing. The digital thread allows manufacturers to take a digital model from a 3-D drawing right into the manufacturing system, which ultimately self-generates the code for machining parts. In addition, this paves the way for a truly efficient, cost-effective and automated manufacturing process.
  • Enhanced Use of Carbon-Fiber-Reinforced Plastic (CRFP). The defense and aerospace industries are now enhancing their profit margins and efficiencies by using CRFP, which is a lighter, stronger material that is corrosion-resistant and is composed of a mixture of fibers.
  • Use of Advanced Robotics and Automation. As the sector is faced with increased demands to meet large order backlogs, advanced robotics and automation tools will ultimately help boost aircraft build rates and improve factory efficiencies.

“I expect the exhibits at Mfg4 to feature more than machines on display – actual demonstrations of key processes and finished parts,” said Paul Faughnan, technology manager, manufacturing engineering, Pratt & Whitney. “Live demonstrations of these technologies, and how they are currently being used to enhance the manufacturing process, are invaluable.”

Mfg4 is the first-ever conference and exposition that invites manufacturers and OEMs from four growth industries – aerospace, defense (including arms), medical and energy – to find success and opportunities by connecting, collaborating and sharing common manufacturing supply-chain challenges.

Mfg4 will alternate years with EASTEC, which has been at the Eastern States Exposition in West Springfield, Mass., since 1988, and returns there May 14-16, 2013.

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