EYE on the MARKET
EYE on the MARKET
With a big push from emerging economies, the number of global aircraft passengers (Aircraft Passenger Volume) is expected to remain at a high annual growth rate of 5%. The total share estimated from the remaining confirmed orders submitted by two major companies, AIRBUS (Europe) and BOEING (U.S.), was 85% at the end of 2016. Small single-aisle aircraft with around 150 seats are highly popular in the short and medium-haul markets in highly-populated countries such as China and India. AIRBUS and BOEING deliver approximately 1,000 small aircraft per year. Regional passenger jets with around 100 seats have been produced by two major companies, EMBRAER (Brazil) and BOMBARDIER (Canada); however, SUKOHI (Russia), COMAC (China), and Mitsubishi Aircraft (JAPAN) are scheduled to enter the market, which will escalate competition.
In addition, the engines mounted on passenger aircraft developed in the 21st century are more environmentally friendly, featuring low noise emissions and high fuel efficiency. The aircraft industry’s anticipated growth will drive development and change in the machining industry, opening new opportunities and creating exciting challenges.
Increased market demand for passenger jets is keeping companies that manufacture related parts busier than ever, pushing them to increase productivity.
A passenger jet has more than 3 million parts. To achieve the highest possible fuel efficiency, lighter, stronger, corrosion-resistant materials have been developed for airframes and landing gear, and materials that can withstand high temperature are employed for engines.
The materials employed in the manufacture of aircraft have advanced remarkably in recent years. The use of increasingly strong, high heat-resistant alloys, titanium alloys, aluminium alloys as well as compound materials such as CFRP has become the norm. Because these new materials are all hard to machine, cutting tool developers are working with aircraft and machine manufacturers to conduct research and development with the goal of realising high-efficiency, high quality, and high-accuracy processing methods.
The large number of orders coming from around the globe has spurred the growth of the commercial aerospace industry. Mitsubishi Materials established its Aerospace Department in autumn 2016 to ensure that its customers receive the highest quality products and services. As an extension of this new department in Japan, staff have also been assigned to Europe and the U.S. to provide prompt and complete responses to customers. Furthermore, a close relationship was established with six technical centres in Japan, Europe, and the U.S., as well as with universities and research institutions both at home and abroad to develop innovative machining technologies.
The Aerospace Department features a wide range of functions that are essential for success. These include marketing development, design and the creation of prototypes at domestic bases under the initiative of the head office (Tokyo) to provide prompt and thorough responses to requests from customers not only in Japan, Europe and the U.S., but also in the rapidly growing Asian markets.
Opened in June 2017, the Machining Technology Center (Omiya) and Central Japan Technical Center (Gifu) boast the most advanced machine tools, including 5-axis machining tools and multi-task machines, and other measurement and analysis devices to handle a wide range of machining tests. Staff at these two centres cooperate with technical centre staff throughout the world, improving their specialised techniques on a daily basis.
Since its foundation in 2013, staff have actively interacted with university researchers. Additionally they have participated in the Collaborative Research Centre for Manufacturing Innovation (CMI) project at University of Tokyo’s Institute of Industrial Science, a project supported by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. This pursuit of technology in cooperation with research institutions, machine tool manufacturers and the Mitsubishi Material Central Research Institute (Naka) continues to further the development of unique, high-performance cutting tools.
The Aerospace Department continues flying to the world with the aerospace industry as an essential partner for the improvement of customer productivity.
Mitsubishi Materials’ sales offices in Europe, Russia, and Turkey, and its technical centre (M-VEC) in Spain serve as manufacturing bases for cutting tools. The European Aero Team originated at MMC HARTMETALL GmbH (Germany) cooperates with technical staff assigned in England, France, Italy, Spain and many other countries on an ongoing basis to provide the most advanced solutions to aerospace-related manufacturers.
In 2014, Mitsubishi Materials joined the Advanced Manufacturing Research Center (AMRC). Many aerospace industry manufacturers from around the globe have joined the AMRC to participate in research, development and tests of new-generation manufacturing technologies, and Mitsubishi Materials’ role in a wide range of AMRC projects has been highly regarded. Furthermore, Mitsubishi Materials actively exhibits in world-class aerospace trade shows, including the Paris Air Show (France) and the Farnborough International Airshow (England), both of which are held biennially.
Aerospace is a major industry in the United States. A wide variety of manufacturers, both large and small, form this gigantic market.
Mitsubishi Materials U.S.A. has its head office in Los Angeles, its Marketing Department and Technical Center in Chicago, and two cutting tool manufacturing sites in neighboring states to satisfy customer needs.
Recently, the need for high-performance processing for large structural parts made of titanium and aluminium alloys has been increasing. The North America Aero Team provides attractive and effective solutions utilising high-quality specialised knowledge. Using its broad global network, Mitsubishi Materials is capable of providing prompt service to aerospace manufacturing bases worldwide. The team also cooperates with research institutions specialising in next-generation machining technologies.
To ensure prompt and complete solutions (products and services) to its individual aerospace industry customers, Mitsubishi Materials has established the Aerospace Department. Half a year has passed since the department began operations and it is committed to providing the highest level of specialization, technology and quality to customers.
Striving to advance development, Mitsubishi Materials is confident that by continuing to work from the customer’s viewpoint will maintain its place as "Your Global Craftsman Studio", and provide solutions that contribute to the development of the aerospace industry.
The Central Japan Technical Center is a 15-billion-yen facility located at Mitsubishi Materials Gifu Plant. The new facility provides attractive solutions such as CAD/CAM/CAE responses, tests utilising a wide range of machinery and effective technical support. It also features a high-profile Machining Academy operated under the motto, “Your Global Craftsman Studio, for You and the World.”
In addition to the Machining Technology Center in Saitama servicing eastern Japan, Mitsubishi Materials has technical centres in the U.S., Spain, China and Thailand. The newly established Central Japan Technical Center serves as a second base in Japan to provide broader services to western Japan and the aerospace and automobile industries located in the geographical centre of the country.
The Machining Technology Center in Saitama utilises the most advanced equipment and innovative materials in its active development of new-generation machining technology in collaboration with customers. Meanwhile, the expanded range of equipment at the newly established Central Japan Technical Center ensures its capability to fulfill its mission as a base to provide technical services to a wider spectrum of customers utilising a wealth of accumulated knowledge and know-how.
Central Japan Technical Center has more than 10 machines installed, including high-accuracy machining centres, multi-task machine tools and automatic lathes, to conduct CAE analysis and CAM simulation under conditions similar to those at customer sites. In addition to proposals for ideal cutting methods for finished products, machining conditions are simulated that anticipate the needs of individual customers, and examine them under realistic conditions. Test results are also simulated for customers. Furthermore, it is also possible for us to handle materials that are difficult to machine with standard tools, to develop special tools that satisfy more specific customer needs, and provide support to ensure the most effective tool use.
Mitsubishi Materials’ Machining Technology Center and Central Japan Technical Center cooperate with several technical centres both at home and abroad to provide prompt and effective customer-oriented solutions anywhere, anytime. Open innovation with universities and other institutions is also encouraged to advance research and development of machining technology for the future. Furthermore, a Machining Academy program has been operated at the Machining Technology Center from June 2016 to pass on technology in a wide range of areas, including basic and advanced machining theories, tool damage improvement, trouble shooting and production line improvement utilising a number of measurement and analytical devices. It is also planned to offer the same services at the Central Japan Technical Center to provide opportunities to systematically cultivate human resources capable of passing on the most advanced machining technologies and know-how to engineers employed by Mitsubishi’s customers.
Solutions are considered, created and shared with customers. The mission is to provide the best solutions and services for individual customer needs, and support their business to facilitate success. In its role as a manufacturing professional, Mitsubishi Materials continues to be the "Global Craftsman Studio" chosen by more customers.• Technical Center Functions