Piper Aircraft Inc. has installed a high pressure Flexform press from Quintus Technologies in its manufacturing facility in Vero Beach, Fla. The addition of the press reflects the growing market for new trainer aircraft, spurred by the current pilot shortage and upsurge in training needs.
"Piper is the only aircraft manufacturer that offers a complete line-up of training aircraft, and with a global pilot shortage we have seen a resulting increase in demand for our training products. With this in mind, it is paramount that we have modern, reliable, and cost-efficient equipment to help us meet the increase in our production," states James Funk, Piper's Chief Operating Officer. "With its capacity and ease of use, the new Quintus press is helping us manage our growth while controlling costs and improving quality."
The Quintus QFC 0.7x1.8-800 fluid cell press applies flexible forming technology to the production of sheet metal parts across the entire Piper line of eight aircraft models. Its versatility supports thousands of part numbers, many with complex geometries or free-form surfaces. The high forming pressure--800 bar (11,600 psi)—ensures close-tolerance parts direct from the press, with little or no secondary hand work required.
With a work area of 27.6 x 73 inches (700 mm x 1800 mm), the press introduces several production efficiencies by eliminating forming operations, intermediate heat treatments, and manual pre- and post-forming operations. The advanced Flexform process utilizes a unique combination of a single rigid tool half, which operates in conjunction with a flexible rubber diaphragm under uniform high hydrostatic pressure, to form sheet metal parts with great accuracy and repeatability. This design approach generates significant tool cost savings and speeds up tool production, especially for intricately shaped components.
"We believe the ability to combine a higher level of forming die design with modern high pressure forming technologies will provide substantial time and cost savings as Piper ramps up its production," notes Ed Williams, General Manager – Americas, Quintus Technologies.
Reliability was a top priority guiding Piper's press selection.
"As a manufacturer with a growing production schedule, it is important that we have equipment that can support our needs with minimal downtime or issues," says Mr. Funk. "The press that we purchased from Quintus has exceeded our expectations. The entry into service has been seamless. Furthermore, the service and support have been exceptional."
Piper supplemented its press order with a long-term Quintus Care Program, a rigorous agreement that ensures flawless production, press operation and maintenance. The program provides for application support, high availability of spare and wear parts, along with guaranteed and prioritized technical support. It also includes both annual press inspections to maintain its status and annual training and recertification of Piper personnel to maintain and elevate their skills. The Quintus Care Program allows the aircraft manufacturer to concentrate on its core business, with the assurance that the press continues to produce quality parts in a timely fashion—"the key to filling orders and maintaining product quality," Mr. Funk notes.
"We are very pleased to be working with Piper as it advances its production volume to meet near-record demand," Jan Soderstrom, CEO of Quintus Technologies, comments. "It is an exciting time for the company, and we are pleased to play a supporting role in its successful operations."
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