Aerospace manufacturing expertise – all in one place
The Starrag site in Rorschacherberg in Switzerland has long been synonymous with highly productive, long-lasting machining solutions in the aircraft industry. This is what made this site the perfect choice for the Starrag Aerospace Competence Center – an initiative to combine the expertise already available within the group in terms of manufacturing turbines and structural components.
The aerospace industry has been one of Starrag’s core markets ever since the company began to build machine tools in the early 20th century – and this is still the case today. Dr Bernhard Bringmann, Managing Director at the Rorschacherberg site and Head of the High Performance Systems business unit, explains: “Over the years, we have built up a vast and diverse knowledge – not just of our own machines, but of the entire manufacturing process for components that are often used in the aerospace industry”.
The best way to experience this expertise first-hand is at the Center of Production Excellence (CPE) at the application center in Rorschacherberg. This approx. 21,528 sq ft (2,000 m2) hall is equipped with state-of-the-art NB, LX and STC five-axis machining centers, which can be used to create a broad variety of flow surfaces and complex structural components. Starrag technologists test and optimized new, sophisticated machine processes at the site, usually in response to customer orders and under production conditions – and all while continuing to gather valuable experience.
A unique application package
“Just as the ’Aerospace Competence Center’ was given its official name, in CPE we were commissioning an Ecospeed machine featuring pallet of 157 inch (four meters) in length to allow us to reproduce our expertise in structural components on this scale”, says Dr Bringmann enthusiastically. The plans go even further: To achieve the best possible synergy effect, future development and production of the Ecospeed series will be relocated from Mönchengladbach to Rorschacherberg. Dr Bringmann provided the following explanation for this decision: “By moving our Ecospeed facilities, we can offer the aerospace industry a huge range of applications from a single source – in a way that very few other companies around the world can”. This includes manufacturing solutions for blades, vanes, blisks, impellers, casings, gearboxes and housings for turbines. The range also covers aluminum and titanium structural components of various sizes, plus landing gear components.
Dr Bernhard Bringmann, Managing Director
“We are not just machine manufacturers. First and foremost, we develop processes. Our high-end machine tools are part of these along with numerous other components.”
Complete manufacturing solutions from a single source
It’s not just the scope of the Starrag range that makes the difference: “We see ourselves less as a machine supplier and more as a solution provider – we see our customers as partners to whom we provide continuous support thanks to our process expertise”, says Dr Bringmann.
This support starts as soon as Starrag receives an inquiry. “In an ideal world, a customer would come to us asking for a manufacturing solution with the component, material and required quantity already in mind”, explains Dr Bringmann. “If that happens, we can use all of our expertise to find a solution for manufacturing the parts with maximum production reliability and at the lowest possible unit cost.”
Starrag process expertise does not just include manufacturing high-end machines – the company is also perfectly positioned in terms of auxiliary components for machining: for example, it can produce solid carbide milling tools specifically designed for a customer’s workpiece, which provide the customer with process advantages. The same applies to bespoke clamping technology and fixtures. Even custom CAD/CAM software is developed in Rorschacherberg, including post-processor programming. Alongside all of these activities, Starrag also looks after any required measuring cycles and simulations, right through in order to complete automation and digitalization solutions. Any process elements that Starrag cannot cover itself are passed onto selected specialist partners who can provide optimal products for the process – these products range from coolants and tool systems to additional software.
Processes are optimized, tested, implemented and supported
To round off its scope of services, Starrag also ensures that all of the components work well together. This is where the CPE in Rorschacherberg comes into play again, as it will continue to be at the hearts of the Aerospace Competence Center in the future. It is at CPE that customer applications are tested and optimized under actual production conditions. “This means we can create a truly effective, reliable production process and optimized, process-secure, realistic unit costs”, states Dr Bringmann. “But our commitment does not end here: Of course, we also provide support in terms of implementing the solutions on site – no matter where that site is in the world – and continue to help our customers even when the process is up and running.”
Starrag Technology Talk – Ecospeed, the benchmark for aluminum cutting
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