Air travel has been a revolutionary development in human technology. The ability to travel rapidly across the world has changed the way we look at commerce, recreation, health, and government. The planes we use for these thousands of trips are amazing feats of engineering, combining everything from hydraulics to electronics into a seamless and incredibly safe machine.
Perhaps the only thing more impressive than the planes themselves are the machines used to build them. Aeronautics manufacturers utilize some of the most precise and hard-working machines in the world, built from innovative materials and some of the most advanced electronics in use today. Those machines create vehicles that will transport thousands of lives every day, so it’s essential that they remain in top performing condition.
Their operation and reliability are dependent on three main areas:
In order to build well, the machines must be well-built. Some of the biggest advances in manufacturing technology have come from a greater understanding of the weak points in equipment, and from understanding how to address those areas. Proper design and construction will compensate for the focused demands on specific machine components.
A.J. Weller makes these components an area of emphasis in their products, which include wear plates. These plates are made of specialized alloys that can stand up to the constant use of manufacturing equipment, and they are used to reinforce a machine’s most vulnerable areas. Beefing up these elements makes the whole machine more reliable but maintains affordability by pinpointing placement of the specialized materials.
There are a number of powerful forces of physics in play with an airplane. In order to withstand them, planes must be built precisely to design specifications. Any deviation from this can interfere with the craft’s ability to tolerate the demands of takeoff, flight, and landing. Each time the plane goes through that series of events–known as a “cycle”–it is subjected to a variety of forces. During takeoff, the engines push the wings forward, creating forward movement against the fuselage. At altitude, outside pressure drops and the entire pressurized portion of the plane swells like a balloon. On the way down, this process reverses.
The plane must be able to tolerate these forces. Deviations in construction can come from deviations in parts manufacture, so the machines that form, cut, weld, and extrude aviation components must be precisely navigated to ensure that they properly shape each part, permitting a flawless fit that is able to weather the demands of flight as designed.
We all know that pilots must have incredible skill and knowledge in everything from computers to weather, but the people who build those planes must be similarly skilled. They need a high level of knowledge in metallurgy, physics, computers, and electronics, and many other fields.
Clearly, the people at the controls are just as critical to the process of building airplanes as anything else. They need to be highly trained, with regular in-service to stay sharp as the technology continues to advance. Their working conditions must be safe and ergonomic to keep them energized and physically up to the demands of the job. That’s the only recipe for effective workers, and the only recipe for safe, reliable aircraft.
Aviation is an important and complex industry. Getting people and goods to their destinations safely and efficiently can only be achieved when the aircraft are properly built, and the only way for the aircraft to be properly built is for them to be constructed by precise, durable machines operated by skilled personnel. It’s on this foundation that the entire aviation industry has been built.