Advanced Metalworking Solutions for
Naval Systems that Go in Harm's Way

NMC Project Team Employing Innovative Distortion Reduction Technologies for CH-53K Cabin Frames


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Transitioning a process that mitigates distortion in the production of the CH-53K cabin frame will improve manufacturing cost, schedule, and quality. Sikorsky photo


Part distortion that results from manufacturing processes such as machining and heat treating is a challenge for many industries, including the construction of Navy weapon systems. The Navy Metalworking Center (NMC) is working to reduce distortion of the side cabin frames on the CH-53K Heavy Lift helicopter. NMC is leading a Navy ManTech project team that will characterize potential causes of distortion in these parts and then evaluate various technologies to mitigate this distortion. Since distortion is a universal issue, the mitigation technologies developed in this project will potentially benefit other Navy platforms as well.

This project will develop and demonstrate distortion mitigation technologies that will address the causes of the distortion during manufacturing stages, including material heat treatment, post-treatment processing, and rough and final machining. Once the causes of the distortion have been identified and validated, actions can be taken to efficiently mitigate the impact on the product. After successful validation on sample parts, the down-selected technology(ies) will be integrated into the standard manufacturing process at the cabin manufacturer, Spirit AeroSystems. Implementation opportunities will be identified for low-rate initial production of the CH-53K Heavy Lift helicopter program.

The project will provide direct cost avoidance opportunities through the mitigation of manufacturing rework driven by distortion. The project team believes that distortion mitigation technology, when applied to the side frame components, can provide a 50% reduction in scrap rate and a 30% reduction in non-conformances requiring re-work.

In addition to Spirit AeroSystems and NMC, PMA 261 and Sikorsky Aircraft are contributing to this project.

For more information, contact:
Mr. Robert E. Akans
Senior Technical Director