Stratasys Blog

Aviation components soar through production with FDM process

Toroid housing
When the safety of thousands of fliers depend, in part, on the products your company makes, top-quality components is imperative, as Kelly Manufacturing Company (KMC) , the world’s largest manufacturer of general aviation instruments well knows. 

The M3500 instrument from KMC’s R.C. Allen line provides the pilot with the rate of aircraft turn. The toroid housing that contains the coil used to power the instrument’s gyro was previously made of urethane castings, which often required manual sanding to meet specs. In addition, new tooling had to be produced whenever the design changed, resulting in lead time of up to four weeks for 500 castings.

With a change in process thanks to contract manufacturer, Rapid Processing Solutions Inc. (Rapid PSI), KMC now produces 500 toroid housings from SABIC’s ULTEM 9085 material, a strong, lightweight thermoplastic. “We liked the idea that there was no need for tooling, so it was easy to switch to the new material and process,” said Justin Kelly, KMC President.

In addition, per-piece costs have been reduced by 5 percent, tooling costs have been eliminated and KMC is exploring using direct digital manufacturing for larger prototyping applications. Learn more.

Ruth Jacques

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