Robot-Guided EDM Launched for SpaceX

Oct. 13, 2021
Beaumont Machine improved its hole-shape technology, breakthrough rate, and overall holemaking process quality – and integrated that with robotics for electrode-positioning in a project for SpaceX.

Supplying aerospace manufacturers is always a matter of high precision and often a matter of high volume and repeatability. Beaumont Machine in Batavia, Ohio, has supplied multi-axis fast hole EDM systems to aircraft builders like Lockheed Martin and jet-engine manufacturers like Pratt & Whitney and GE Aviation. A recent project added a newer name to the list, and a slightly different aerospace market.

SpaceX – the Hawthorne, Calif., manufacturer of launch vehicles, rocket engines, spacecraft and communications satellites – was established by Elon Musk to achieve lower-cost space transportation. With a recent order of a small-hole EDM workcell, SpaceX is now a Beaumont Machine customer.

The scale of the aerospace project may change, but the demand for precision remains. Beaumont Machine accepts all aerospace-sector challenges for small hole EDM and robotic articulation.

“As the needs in the industry are changing, we’ve made changes to keep pace,” president Ed Beaumont explained. “For the past three years, Beaumont Machine has been working with the advanced CNC control systems from Siemens to support the real-time connection to our power supply. This has improved our hole-shape technology, breakthrough rate, and overall holemaking process quality. We just completed a project with SpaceX, using this newly developed control system in tandem with integrated, large ABB robotics for positioning of the electrode.”

SpaceX’s new Beaumont small-hole EDM machine has a reach of 8 feet in diameter and 8 feet high. Beaumont has built equipment as small as a phone booth before – and now as large as this newest SpaceX collaboration.

“All our machines are built for production purposes, right here in Southwest Ohio,” Ed Beaumont explained. “Our customers demand the uptime we provide as well as preventative and predictive maintenance programs with NADCAP-approved calibrations.”