The need for high-precision, cost-effective, reliable and long-lasting components in aircraft manufacturing is intensifying in the wake of the rapid changes sweeping over the industry. As aircraft technologies evolve and become more sophisticated, aerospace castings have emerged to make advanced aerospace components that are more durable, accurate and flexible. With the high stakes and intricate parts involved, organisations require a powerful blend of high quality, advanced technologies and rich expertise to keep up with the recent developments in this space. This is where Cronite is in a class by itself.
A global supplier of heat treatment, corrosion and wear-resistant castings with production on three continents and an extensive global commercial and design network, Cronite brings in decades of rich expertise in designing systems and developing materials exposed to extreme temperatures and atmospheres. With roots tracing back to 1917, the company has undergone multiple mergers and acquisitions to evolve as a forerunner in the realm of designing and manufacturing heat treatment fixtures and furnace spare parts. Today, more than 15,000 furnaces around the world are equipped with Cronite’s products. Backed by a buoyant and adept team of designers, metallurgists and engineers focused on optimising solutions, Cronite is committed to meeting all customer specifications with the same level of quality and design features across the world.
As one of the leading players supplying castings for the aerospace sector, Cronite aims to create value through technology and offer suitable solutions for the customers. “The aerospace market is quite exciting. We have been involved in the aerospace market for the last 50 years. While there is a growing demand for composite forming and titanium forming tools, we are responding to this trend with traditional tools,” says Peter White, Sales Director at Cronite. With the rise of the forming of composite and titanium components and structures in the aircraft manufacturing techniques, Cronite continues to reap the benefits of this trend by specialising in composite forming tools, titanium forming tools, along with platens, masking tools and aluminising baskets. The company focuses on developing forming tools that are made from suitable alloys with minimal thermal expansion at elevated temperatures. Cronite’s Austenitic Nickel Iron alloys offer significant advantages over wrought or forged Invar plate, particularly for complex shapes. Moreover, these cast tools have the ability to cast to near net shape, incur lower machinery costs and also reduce material wastage. “Our composite forming tools are made of alloys that have a low coefficient of expansion or contraction, thus making them immune to the effects of temperature fluctuation,” explains Peter White. Long before Titanium Super-plastic Forming (SPF) became a common sight in aerospace manufacturing, Cronite already mastered the development of Titanium Forming Tools, a process which is carried out between 750°C and 950°C.
We have been involved in the aerospace market for the last 50 years. While there is a growing demand for composite forming and titanium forming tools, we are responding to this trend with traditional tools
Depending on the application, Cronite helps its clients choose from its extensive range of alloys that promise to deliver high performance, long life and optimise the use of expensive metals.
Yet another important segment the company focuses on is the masking process that ensures the aerospace sector saves time, money and enhances product quality. “We are keen on developing the masking tools that are used for holding, supporting and masking the turbine blades and vanes before they go through the aluminising coating process,” comments Peter White. Masking tools at Cronite are developed by the company’s design department that works closely with the customers and manufacturers to follow the contour of the turbine blades. Cronite’s masking tools are instrumental in supporting the turbine blade during the coating process and also covering the areas on the blade where coating is not required. The alloy used in the development might vary as per the process and client requirements.
All foundries of Cronite are ISO 9001 certified and ensure the production of high-quality products for all kinds of demanding applications, including aerospace. The uniqueness of the Cronite’s tools stems from their ability to produce highly-customised products designed specifically to ensure that they have a long life. Besides focusing on “increasing the life of the tools,” the company also differentiates itself from competitors by bringing in unique alloys and designs of the tools. From the masking tools perspective, Cronite empowers its clients with a rapid prototyping production process whereby they can test the geometry and the fit of the part before making them in metal. In doing so, the company presents its customers with a less expensive option for developing the required component.
On a closing note, Cronite is celebrating its 100th anniversary. However, not resting on its laurels, the company aims to expand its footprint to Asia and the US. Cronite is currently partnered with key suppliers to help Airbus manage the high projected volumes of commercial aircraft. “Our recent investments in a new plastic printer will level our operations a notch higher in terms of printing plastic models and lost wax models for casting,” concludes Peter White.