Pre-Spin Production Demand Increases Sharply
June 1, 2015
Test Devices Makes Infrastructure and Workforce Moves To Meet the Need
Test Devices is ramping up to meet sharply increased demand for pre-spin production testing. Two major engine manufacturers have recently begun production of highly fuel-efficient products that require pre-spin activities.
Because of Test Devices’ proven expertise with pre-spin production testing, Test Devices estimates it will quadruple this work in the next few years and then double it again before 2020. “Customers need us to take on a large volume of pre-spin testing as part of their production process,” said Dave Woodford, Executive Vice President. “Test Devices has worked on pre-spin for more than 15 years. We have many significant customers for whom we do this work regularly, but now demand is growing exponentially.”
Space Exploration Technologies Corporation (SpaceX) said they are extremely satisfied with Test Devices’ expertise and processes, which play a pivotal role in their business. “Much of our success is centered around the support of exceptional suppliers such as Test Devices,” SpaceX Director Of Supplier Performance Erik Fleming said. “The spin testing Test Devices performs on our turbine wheels is critical to the production schedule of our Merlin engine turbo pumps.”
To stay ahead of demand, Test Devices has added a new assembly area, a crane system and well-located space handling and storage areas. “The recent facility upgrades allow for a better flow of parts,” according to Woodford. “These new efficiencies and capacity increases benefit all our customers. We are more equipped to handle large influxes of parts, test them and assure customers can meet their schedules.” Plans also include making full use of second-shift capabilities later this year.
During pre-spin production testing, Test Devices receives customer parts as forgings in a rough machined state, and as part of the processes in many cases, machines precise features to enable attachment of pre-spin tooling. Forgings are inspected pre- and post-test on Test Devices coordinate measuring machine (CMM) and pre-spin tested to customer requirements. The pre-spin test process produces a component that is more stable, and in some cases, allows customers to eliminate iterative machining operations designed to manage component flexing (i.e. “potato chipping”) in subsequent production operations. In addition, the pre-spin test process can be useful in stabilizing the gap between rotating and static hardware installed in the engine.
Parts are then sent back to the manufacturers for further production and installation work.