Metal spinning involves a disc revolving at controlled speeds on a lathelike machine with a spinning mandrel imparting the shape of the finished design The finished parts are able to be used in place of welded or fabricated shapes

New Contract Highlights Novel Turning Technique

Feb. 10, 2014
Two years, $36 million Extends current contract Near-net shape forming

Standex International Corp.’s Spincraft division has entered into a two-year contact with United Launch Alliance to produce one-piece domes for fuel and oxygen tanks, for the ULA’s Atlas V and Delta IV launch vehicle programs.

The contract is worth “nearly $36 million,” Standex reported, and also includes a $15-million option for an additional two years.

Spincraft is an operating unit of the Standex Engineering Technologies Group, and has operations in North Billerica, Mass., New Berlin, Wis., and Newcastle, England.

Metal spinning is a near-net shape forming process in which a disc of metal is revolved at controlled speeds using a specially designed machine. It functions like a lathe, though instead of a chuck to clamp the workpiece, a spinning mandrel is mounted to the machine to define the internal contour of a part to be produced. The round blank is clamped between the spinning mandrel and tailstock spindle; then the blank and mandrel are rotated together. 

As the mandrel rotates, a spinning tool makes multiple passes over the blank, forcing it against the mandrel and causing the metal to flow mechanically, taking the shape of the internal form.

For ULA —a joint venture of Boeing and Lockheed Martin that supplies the U.S. Department of Defense, NASA, and other organizations — Spincraft is producing fuel and oxygen tank domes for the Atlas V and Delta IV rockets, which are used to launch navigation, telecommunications, weather, and national security satellites

Spincraft will produce the single-piece fuel and oxygen tank domes for the Atlas V and Delta IV rockets, which are used to deploy navigation, telecommunications, weather, and national security satellites.

The contract, which builds on Spincraft’s current tank-dome contract with ULA, includes cost reductions for ULA but is expected to increase Spincraft’s volume by 25% during this contract period.

“This new contract for the single-piece fuel and oxygen tank domes demonstrates the critical importance of our products to both Atlas V and Delta IV Launch Vehicles,” stated Len Paolillo, President of Standex’s Engineering Technologies group. “Our vertically integrated facility in North Billerica. Mass., provides our customer the forming technologies we have developed and improved over the years, along with all the other essential downstream processing required to provide a robust and cost effective solution on their tank components.”

About the Author

Robert Brooks | Content Director

Robert Brooks has been a business-to-business reporter, writer, editor, and columnist for more than 20 years, specializing in the primary metal and basic manufacturing industries. His work has covered a wide range of topics, including process technology, resource development, material selection, product design, workforce development, and industrial market strategies, among others. Currently, he specializes in subjects related to metal component and product design, development, and manufacturing — including castings, forgings, machined parts, and fabrications.

Brooks is a graduate of Kenyon College (B.A. English, Political Science) and Emory University (M.A. English.)

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