We know aerospace is an important field for science, discovery, and travel. We know it requires some specialized equipment, both for essentials in equipment functionality as well as the elements that make the equipment palatable for human use. The functional safety of aerospace equipment is paramount, since there are lives at stake, and malfunctions at the height and speed that aerospace vehicles reach can have disastrous effects on both the people and research projects involved. Aerospace and aviation equipment must meet strict standards for safety, which means that all the small pieces that make a larger piece of equipment must be top-notch and constructed with the best technology and materials.

What we can’t do without

In commercial airlines, filtration systems are essential. Since air gets recirculated, it can contain pollutants such as skin particles, dust, microorganisms, and even viruses. Volatile organic compounds in this same air can produce ugly odors. Should a whole airplane of travelers become ill, an airline could have a major lawsuit on its hands.  It’s therefore just as essential that the parts that create the filtration system are up to snuff. Interestingly, the materials that might be used to create a filtration system can also be found in some of the structural elements and exhaust equipment of other aerospace, including the Mars Rovers!


Sophisticated and small

The precision that aerospace equipment needs means that there are specialized, minute parts built specifically for this industry. Often these pieces are brought in from suppliers whose business is to make these highly specific parts. For instance, there are companies that are dedicated to manufacturing the connectors, coupling nuts, shells, and even steel types that are specifically designed for use in aerospace. An aerospace company may turn to a third-party provider for something as specific as valves, pistons, fasteners, and even the tungsten electrodes that are used in spark plugs. The very cables and technology used to create the lean back function of airplane seats is important; after all, customers won’t return to the airline that provided the most uncomfortable trans-continental flight they’ve ever had! Again, these basic parts can be found in other aerospace projects as well as automotives. And the same technology used to create comfy airline seats are included in the actuators that are on the wings of airplanes that help out at low speeds and even truck motor drive systems. It’s important that the companies that produce these materials have the sophisticated and fool-proof capabilities that will contribute to the overall safety compliance of the larger machines.


Changing times

As technology advances, the standards for the aerospace industry advance as well. For instance, aluminum once dominated airline construction; today, aluminum makes up only about 20% of an airplane’s construction, with lighter-weight carbon fiber reinforced polymers (CFRP) making up the greater part of the airplane’s construction. Titanium is also being used more and more in the industry. One-piece designs are reducing the number of components that go into the equipment.  Manufacturing standards get higher and higher, meaning that production companies have no excuse to go outside their tiny margin of error. Fortunately for us, these intense expectations mean that we are safer than ever in our machines and that our space exploration projects have a higher potential than ever.


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