Take-off at Lake Constance

Starrag and ZEISS welcome over 200 professionals to Aerospace Technology Days 2022

Rorschacherberg – What does the new Aerospace and Turbine Competence Center have to offer? How do I optimise the production of my turbine blades and structural components? And what can be achieved through the closely interlinked interaction of measurement technology and machining? Answers to typical questions such as these from leading producers in the aerospace and energy industries were provided by Starrag and ZEISS in Rorschacherberg in the summer over the course of the three-day Aerospace Technology Days event.


“There wasn’t a single well-known manufacturer of drives and structural components for aeroplanes and power plant turbines who wasn’t present,” reports a satisfied Dr Christian Walti, CEO of the Starrag Group. In spite of a pandemic-related pause, Starrag and its cooperative partner for this year, Carl Zeiss Industrielle Messtechnik GmbH, managed to attract more than 200 participants from 22 countries to Lake Constance for the long-standing insider meeting for production specialists in the aerospace industry and in power plant turbine construction. These included customers of both companies, who came from Europe, North America, Australia and New Zealand. The three-day event was made more appealing thanks to the cooperation with the manufacturer Carl Zeiss Industrielle Messtechnik GmbH, whose demonstrations at six of the 14 total stations ideally complemented Starrag’s production technology. “One station milled a structural component precisely down to a few micrometres, and its contour was then checked at the next station using a large 3D scanner,” recalls marketing manager Ralf Schneider. “This close interlinking of ZEISS measurement technology and Starrag machines at the Aerospace Technology Days is a good reflection of reality, since it also occurs in everyday industrial operations. We do the milling and ZEISS does the measurement.” The device used in question was the optical ATOS ScanBox, which supports the manufacturing process with quick and precise measurements for quality control.

The Aerospace and Turbine Competence Center pulls in participants thanks to its manufacturing expertise

Exchanging information and pleasantries: The 200+ participants from 22 different countries were not only interested in ZEISS and Starrag’s expertise, but also took advantage of the occasion to socialise with other professionals from the aerospace and energy industries.

Machining and measurement in a single set-up

Starrag and ZEISS pragmatically demonstrated the seamless and swift nature of this interaction. Professionals from all over the world were impressed with how the process chain could be optimised and automated through simple measures: When planning a set-up, for example, not only the milling process, but also the quality check can be taken into account on a coordinate measuring machine. “By no longer needing to change the set-up, I save time, reduce potential sources of error, and improve process reliability,” Schneider points out.

There was another interesting aspect that made this event stand out: While the Aerospace Technology Days are, as the name suggests, primarily aimed at professionals in the aerospace industry, representatives from the energy sector are traditionally also invited. This is because Rorschacherberg is the host

to manufacturing demonstrations of turbine components that are not just used in aeroplanes, but also in power plants after undergoing slight modifications. Therefore, the challenges that occur are similar, and so representatives from both industry sectors have come to highly value the cross-sector interaction that the “Tech Days” offer ever since the beginnings of this event.


Welcome Ecospeed: A new addition to the Aerospace Competence Center


A particular highlight for the aerospace industry, however, was the demonstration on an Ecospeed F1540 with the machining of complex, large aluminium components. This horizontal machining centre with its unique Sprint Z3 machining head with parallel kinematics is considered the most productive solution for the high-performance milling of monolithic aeroplane components made from aluminium. The Ecospeed F1540 is designed for machining long and narrow structural components using complex five-axis machining geometries. Thanks to the five-sided access to the workpiece, it is particularly suitable for highly complex components. At the Tech Days, Starrag demonstrated how quickly a highly complex component can be formed with deep rough machining at high speed (machining volume of 180 litres per minute). The machining time is shortened by the rapidly accelerating five axes and the parallel kinematic machining head. Even though high-performance cutting is used, the final machining quality and surface quality are so high that there is no need for manual post-processing. Consequently, the Ecospeed series has gained significant prominence among the worldwide aerospace community.

“By no longer needing to change the set-up, I save time, reduce potential sources of error, and improve process reliability.”

Ralf Schneider Starrag Marketing manager at Rorschacherberg

The demonstration of the Ecospeed F1540 was a statement from Starrag. It indicates that the development and production of the Ecospeed series has now been successfully relocated from Mönchengladbach to Rorschacherberg. The presentation of the Ecospeed was not just a première for the high-speed milling of large, complex aluminium structural components for the aerospace industry at the group’s headquarters: Above all, it signalled the significance of milling with parallel kinematics for the new Starrag Aerospace and Turbine Competence Center, which now combines all the existing expertise within the company group on the development and production of turbines, turbine blades and structural components.

Securing the benchmark position

The first new Ecospeed machines for customers are already under construction at the headquarters in Rorschacherberg, while the Ecospeed F1540 is already being used in shift operation. Christian Walti summarises the developments as follows: "We mill on the machine under real conditions, observe and optimise machining processes and measure wear and other characteristic values in order to develop the Ecospeed technology even further. Only by doing this can we ensure that Ecospeed will continue to serve as the worldwide benchmark for machining aluminium structural components.”

Starrag Technology Talk - Starrag Aerospace & Turbine Competence Center