38,000 ft, 560 mph
A couple of days ago Dirk Wember and I were travelling across the American continent at an altitude of 38,000 ft at about 560 mph. Amazing isn’t it, when you think that in the 1870s a trip from New York to Sacramento took no less than seven days?
One airplane, millions of parts
Doesn’t it boggle the mind to consider the complexity, the interconnectedness, and centuries of cumulative knowledge involved in taking what is now considered a routine commercial flight. I don’t have the exact numbers but I read somewhere that a commercial airplane like a Boeing 777 or an Airbus A 320 consists of more than three million parts. (If you have the exact figures, please let me know.)
Grinding one part
As some of our readers already know the Haas Multigrind® grinding centers are also appreciated in the Aerospace Industry for their precision and flexibility. In a recent example, a Haas Multigrind® CB grinding machine was installed at a major commercial aircraft manufacturer. Among many different parts that will be produced on this machine, one of the initial justifications for the investment was a relatively small (2” diameter x 4” long) geared shaft. Features include a spur gear, threads, diameters and shoulders. Quite an interesting grinding process.
Technologies involved in producing this one part?
- Materials science; strength, wear resistance, machinability, etc.
- Gear design; function, performance, reliability
- Machine tools; precision components, assembly, CNC controls & electronics, programming
- Grinding wheels; abrasives, bonds, speeds and feeds
- Coolant; chemistry, volume, pressure
- And much, much more
Does the passenger in 25B know?
And we’re speaking here just about one part out of several hundreds of thousands of parts that are assembled in an aircraft. Meanwhile, the passenger sitting in 25B, reading his magazine, might not be at all aware of the technological marvel that is bringing us from Atlantic to the Pacific Coast. So, shouldn’t we all be a bit more aware of the technology that surrounds us? What do you think?
Wishing you always a good flight and a good grinding process!
Business Development Manager Americas, Haas Multigrind®, USA
PS: Everything is amazing and nobody is happy