Developing Robust Production Processes

As American and allied F-35 combat aircraft cruise at supersonic speeds, fan inlet variable vanes in the planes’ engines spin air in the direction the fan rotates, lowering pressure and maintaining the fan’s speed. At NE-XT, we developed the production process for these vanes, which was complimented by a robust risk mitigation strategy.

When we took on this project, we designed a titanium forging that would reduce costs for our customer. We leveraged our simultaneous 5-axis machining skills to develop a complex process for producing these vanes, which included airfoil surface machining, gear cutting and deep hole gun drilling.

To make sure we maintained customer satisfaction as well as the on-time delivery and quality of these vanes, we developed a risk mitigation strategy by creating:

  • Redundant production platforms and locations
  • Process capability determinations for the entire part; moving to within Cpk limits for specified key features
  • Defined training programs specific to the part production
  • A separate risk mitigation strategy for forging, testing and special process suppliers