Piper Aircraft Inc. installed a high-pressure Flexform press from Quintus Technologies in its manufacturing facility in Vero Beach, Fla. The addition of the press reflects the growing market for new trainer aircraft. The fluid cell press applies flexible forming technology to the production of sheet-metal parts across the entire Piper line of eight aircraft models. With a work area of 27.6 x 73 inches (700 mm x 1,800 mm), the press introduces production efficiencies by eliminating forming operations, intermediate heat treatments, and manual pre- and post-forming operations.
The unit’s high forming pressure – 800 bar (11,600 psi) – ensures close-tolerance parts direct from the press with little or no secondary hand work required. The Flexform process utilizes a combination of a single rigid tool half, which operates in conjunction with a flexible rubber diaphragm under uniform high hydrostatic pressure, to form sheet-metal parts with accuracy and repeatability. This design approach generates significant tool cost savings and speeds up tool production, particularly for intricately shaped components.