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M&I at Farnborough with Eurofighter and Cessna orders

A state-of-the-art manufacturing plant has helped M&I Materials Ltd land its largest ever single order, worth approximately £2 million. The company will exclusively supply Wolfmet tungsten alloy parts for the Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft, under an agreement running to 2012.

M&I also recently gained two large orders from Cessna Aircraft Company for balance components for the new Citation Sovereign business jet. Wolfmet control surface balance weights are being fitted into rudder and elevator assemblies by Cessna in the USA, Avcorp, in Canada and Stork Fokker, in Holland.

The production facilities at M&I in Manchester are unrivalled in the industry and were designed specifically for efficient tungsten alloy manufacturing, from blending of raw materials to component finishing. When procuring components for Eurofighter, BAE Systems cited this factor, along with the quality systems, procedures, staff approach and existing service levels in making their decision to award the work to M&I, against strong competition.

M&I will supply BAE Systems with Wolfmet tungsten alloy balance weights for the second tranche of the Eurofighter production programme. Over the next five to six years, more than 6,600 Wolfmet weights will be supplied for 254 of these aircraft. The company undertakes the whole manufacturing process in-house, from powder blending, shaping and sintering, through to CNC drilling and machining.

Applications include trim weights for the fighter's Canard foreplane, ballast adjustment in the cockpit and for centre of gravity positioning. The balance weights will be installed in the forward and aft sections of the Typhoon, at BAE's Samlesbury site.

Due to the very high melting point of tungsten (in excess of 3,000 °C), Wolfmet alloys cannot be manufactured by traditional casting methods. To overcome this, Wolfmet alloys are manufactured by powder metallurgy techniques. One of the advantages of manufacturing by powder metallurgy methods is that small batch quantities, even single pieces, can be achieved without the severe cost penalties associated with other production methods.

Wolfmet's high density, coupled with good mechanical properties and machining characteristics, allows designers to make significant reductions in the physical size of components. For a given moment about a pivot, Wolfmet alloys therefore allow a lighter balance weight to be sited further from the pivot point.

Press release issued by M&I Materials Ltd on July 17, 2006


 Contact details from our directory:
M&I Materials Ltd Counterweights, Precision Machined Parts, Tungsten, Radiation Shielding


 Related aircraft programs:
Eurofighter Typhoon
Cessna Citation Sovereign


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