How Custom Steel Products Improve Aerospace MRO Processes

April 2, 2021 | Custom Wire Baskets, Stainless Steel Carts, Aerospace

Aircraft maintenance, repair, and overhaul is a vital component within the aerospace industry. After all, in aerospace, the margin of error is extremely small so many precision engineering tools are used to ensure that aircrafts are maintained to high standards in order to safely transport passengers, pilots, crew, and cargo. Of course, aircraft parts are also delicate, and dents and scratches can compromise their integrity. So, continuous improvement of MRO processes is important.

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What is MRO?

MRO stands for Maintenance, Repair, and Operations items. This can further be defined as “goods or equipment that are part of a manufacturing process but that are not the final product of that process.” 

MRO items may typically include any of the following: 

  • Safety equipment, such as gloves, cloaks, and workwear
  • Consumables, such as cleaning, laboratory, or office supplies
  • Industrial equipment, such as compressors, pumps, and valves
  • Plant upkeep supplies, such as gaskets, lubricants, and repair tools
  • Computer equipment including fixtures, furniture, etc.

Today, The MRO market is estimated at $1.7 Trillion annually – $200 Billion of which is in the industrial segment.

Why is MRO Management Important?

MRO often represents as much as one-third of a manufacturing company’s spend, divided between the cost of parts (approximately 1/3) and the processes associated with supporting and utilizing those parts (approximately 2/3). With this much invested in MRO, a lot can go wrong when MRO is overlooked.

For example, say you run out of a vital chemical, tool, or element that is a part of the production process; that means you’ll need to stop production immediately. This downtime can cause you to miss deadlines and deliveries, resulting in lost sales, customers, and employee productivity. Or, let’s say you run out of a safety item; if you continue production, you could be putting peoples’ lives at risk.

Importance of MRO Processes in Aerospace Applications

Aircraft maintenance negligence not only causes flight delays and cancellations but is commonly found to be one of the top three causes of aviation accidents. In fact, almost 12% of all aircraft accident reports cite a maintenance factor, such as this incident in Florida, as reported by General Aviation News

Recently, in response to mid-air engine failure on certain flights, the Federal Aviation Industry (FAA) has been mandating fan blade inspection before some jetliners are allowed to fly again. A previous incident in 2018, in which a flight had to make an emergency landing after a fan blade broke and large pieces of fan cowls were sheared off, led to the National Transportation Safety Board’s determination that the fracture was likely the result of problems with the inspection process.

These incidents, and the aviation industry's high safety standard, highlight the importance of MRO processes in the aerospace industry. In particular, protecting jet engine parts during transport is critical, as improperly transported goods can lead to:

  • Jet engine part damage
  • Loss of small parts
  • Safety risks/harm befalling engineers and handlers
  • Damage impacting a product’s regulation compliance

Repairs and replacements that occur as a result of improperly transported products can also result in an inefficient and more expensive MRO process. Every instance of potential damage or a loss in integrity can lead to restarting the entire process, as no risks can be taken when it comes to human lives.

Custom Products That Improve Aerospace Repair and Overhaul Operations

Marlin Steel works with some of the most prestigious companies in the world, and they demand consistency and quality. Each of our products is very carefully designed, in fact, 25% of our team are mechanical engineers who go through a detailed QA checklist when inspecting the parts. Some products we create for the aerospace industry, each designed to protect parts from damage, include:

Circular Floats

Our patented circular float is uniquely designed to avoid metal-on-metal contact between commercial aircraft engine parts during the engine overhaul process. It further protects parts by removing debris from the parts carrier. Our circular steel floats also feature heavy-duty casters to handle large aircraft engines or components such as jet turbine fans, straps to keep them secure, coatings to prevent scratching, and clips to allow multiple floats to be joined to carry several turbines at once with ease. 

Stainless Steel Carts

These heavy-duty industrial steel carts are made for moving large-scale loads and feature extreme durability for surviving tough manufacturing environments. They also come with a combination of fixed and swivel casters for stability and ease of movement. In addition to the stock carts that are available, Marlin’s engineers can create customized rolling carts to meet the specific needs of your manufacturing process.

Custom Wire Baskets

Aircraft parts must be carefully cleaned and washed to avoid damage. Marlin Steel’s custom wire baskets can withstand harsh conditions and chemicals, including ultrasonic cleaners or chemical baths. Our stainless steel baskets for small parts also use fine wire mesh to prevent small parts from being washed away. Plus, our custom-formed dividers can compartmentalize a basket, making washing even more efficient and keeping parts snug so that they don’t move about and sustain damage during washing.

Blade and Vane Baskets

Marlin Steel’s engineers have created a wide variety of vane and blade baskets to suit your unique needs. These custom wire baskets are built with Grade 304 stainless steel and are ideal for transporting jet turbine blades. Plus, they can be designed with or without a lid.

Order Custom Aerospace Steel Products From Marlin Steel

Aircraft-grade stainless steel from Marlin Steel can handle a lot of weight while facilitating better parts cleaning than alternatives, such as aerospace-grade aluminum. In addition, we test our designs against the manufacturing conditions they will be subjected to through a battery of virtual physics simulation tests known as finite element analysis (FEA). We do this to ensure each of our aerospace products will meet your unique performance and durability requirements. Contact us today to see how our custom stainless steel product can improve your aerospace MRO process.