Thanks to continuous scientific developments, lasers have become incredibly versatile tools. Accordingly, this technology has had a significant effect on various industries like aerospace engineering.
From its inception, laser processing has become a key part of the aerospace industry. After all, aviation safety standards are generally higher than those of other forms of transportation, so it shouldn’t be surprising that this field relies so much on laser technology.
Precise Fabrication Leads to Better Safety
Previously, machine fabrication relied entirely on mechanical means to cut and shape materials. Actual blades needed to touch materials to cut them. Aside from using more energy, this can negatively affect the accuracy of cuts. Comparatively, the precise nature of laser processing allows for more accurate executions of even complex designs.
As an example, lasers can form irregular shapes and can cut any material to exact specifications. This includes plastics, metals, and even carbon fiber. The ability to create panels and instruments exactly as manufacturers want them improves both reliability and safety.
Less Contact During Manufacturing Makes for Reliable Electronics
Though we’ve associated flight with wings, the majority of modern aviation systems depend more on sound electronics. This is true for planes, jets, and helicopters. However, these “avionics” systems tend to require a lot of care and precision during production.
Previously, using metal tools would run the risk of causing electrostatic discharges, airborne contaminants, and other factors that affect the reliability of electronics systems. Compared with other manufacturing techniques, laser processes don’t directly touch the components they cut or weld. They also have a relatively small heat affect zone, further minimizing the risk of inadvertent physical damage to an aircraft’s vital boards and circuitries.
Markings Allow for Easier Replacement of Parts
An airplane or helicopter experiences incredible wear and tear over countless kilometers of flight. The constant stress on the multiple component parts necessitates a steady source of replacement parts. By including small engravings and marks, manufacturers make it easy for maintenance teams to know which exact parts they need.
Similar to laser cutting, laser marking allows for small engravings into any material without any physical contact. Aside from marking important information onto the components themselves, it also sidesteps the use of inks and other chemicals. This approach avoids contamination from corroding certain parts, or possibly interfering with various aircraft functions.
Taking to the Skies
Over the years, the technology for laser processing has vastly improved. However, the system involves a lot of moving parts, requiring the integration of both hardware and software solutions.
Even though lasers are known more as a means for cutting materials to size, they are actually useful for a surprising variety of tasks. Each of these tasks plays a big hand in why flying remains the safest way to travel.
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