Aero Metals Alliance
Defence Metal Suppliers
‘The whole is greater than the sum of its parts’ is a widely used phrase and it is nowhere more evident than in Aero Metals Alliance (AMA), an organisation formed specifically to provide a dedicated offering to the aerospace industry from five of the world’s leading suppliers of metals. The aerospace industry is global and, as such, needs a global capability from its supply chain. But a capability that also recognises the value of local service and support.
Through the experience and expertise of AMA’s constituent partners and the geographic spread that they represent from the 13 sites located throughout the Americas, Europe and Asia Pacific, the leading OEMs and sub-contractors within the industry can source materials, processing capabilities and supply chain management services.
The partners within AMA are the leading names within metals supply: Gould Alloys, Progressive Alloy Steels Unlimited (PASU), Service Centres Aero (SCA), Sunshine Metals and Wilsons Metals. In the markets in which they operate, the companies have established their own reputations for industry experience, knowledge and expertise. When that is brought together through AMA, the benefits to those operating within aerospace manufacturing are considerable.
The focus on buy-to-fly ratios highlights the contributing role that near net shape processing can offer. This has undoubtedly been a driver in increasing this service offering from AMA. As a major contributor in the aircraft manufacturing supply chain, this is a key area of development for AMA and its partner companies.
Customers are increasingly looking to optimise their production processes. This is primarily driven by the need to maximise their own spindle time for core business activities, with AMA therefore undertaking some of the machining processes. It can take many forms, from simple cutting to more intricate processing in which near net shape pieces are supplied. Even in AMA businesses whose business is predominantly transactional (so called ‘spot business’) rather than contractual, the processing element is increasing. Pre-machined kits of parts to individual specifications are becoming more commonplace. In addition to freeing up time for customers and OEMs to focus on more profitable final processing, near net shape processes can improve product quality, reduce variability and enhance component design functionality. As the industry continues to search for ways to lower buy-to-fly ratios and reduce the amount of waste, near net shape processing will have a greater role to play.
This extended range of products offered through AMA is also reflected in the range of services provided. Each partner company has its own processing capabilities which vary from business to business. In essence, the collective capability of AMA partners embodies the latest technology to meet the needs of any specific metal processing requirement, including: cutting, shape cutting, milling, surfacing, sawing, drilling, guillotining, waterjet cutting, USI testing, heat-treating or retempering, forgings and machining to near net shape.
The company is a privately-owned leader in the stockholding and distribution of high integrity ferrous and non-ferrous metals. Investment is ongoing, in both equipment and facilities, building on the company’s significant expansion with its move to new purpose-built premises in 2015. The production of near net shape components is a focus, with wide ranging stocks and extensive capabilities in processing. The range in both aerospace and commercial specifications/alloys includes:
In terms of processing capabilities, the company provides:
Wilsons is a privately owned business and prides itself on its accuracy and service, coupled with pace and agility, in supplying high performance aerospace alloys. Wilsons is a founder of the Aero Metals Stockist industry, with extensive experience and knowledge of the aerospace market. The company has been trading successfully for over 60 years specialising in the provision of soft alloys. Long term relationships have been developed with suppliers and customers. Wilsons’ expertise and capability is global and its customers value the flexible and responsive service which achieves rapid turnaround of all enquiries and accurate ontime delivery. The company carries a comprehensive stock of over 2,000 aerospace released aluminium plate, bar and sheet items and has extensive capacity and capability to cut, machine and test to customers’ needs. Wilsons carries extensive stocks of customer specific items of other aerospace hard alloys in support of longterm one-stop-shop customer contracts. Naturally Wilsons holds the latest AS9100, AS9120 and ISO9001 accreditations along with numerous customer approvals. Wilsons’ mission is to solve specific needs, whatever they are.
Our latest bar saws deliver high-speed, accurate and burr-free cutting of bars and other extrusions up to 540mm. Plate saws provide cut blanks up to 155mm thick and up to 4m long. Guillotine cutting of Aluminium sheet up to 10mm thick and 3m long. In addition, laser or water-jet cutting can be provided. Sheet can be poly-coated as required.
Our 5-axis simultaneous machining centre now offers customers parts machined to near net shape saving processing time and scrap. This provides very flexible high-speed machining of aluminium parts from extrusion, plates and forgings. Competitive pricing is assured through high productivity with 5-sided machining in a single set-up together with loading / unloading of parts and fixtures whilst the machine is running.
Ultrasonic flaw-detection testing, Spectrotest alloy verification, hardness testing and electrical conductivity testing is provided on request.
Reproduced with the kind permission of Military Systems & Technology Magazine.