www.shopmetaltech.com april 2016
18 | COVER STORY | Aerospace
today, wings are composed of a checkerboard pattern of spars and ribs.
Stringers run lengthwise along the wing and are attached to the tops
and bottoms of the ribs, holding the assembly together and giving it
additional strength. Wrapped around this structure is the skin, which
provides the aerodynamic surfaces so critical to flight.
Of course, the wings in today’s aircraft are far more complex than
those used at Kitty Hawk. Chock full of electrical wiring, sensors for
temperature, air speed, and barometric pressure, hydraulic lines and
valves, fuel systems, and myriad mechanical components, aircraft
wings are part of a synergistic system that drives
the modern world.
Someone who knows all about it is Paul Stafiej.
He says Sonaca’s Montreal facility focuses on
aircraft wing structures, and supplies aluminum
wing panels to the likes of Bombardier, Embraer,
Triumph, Mitsubishi, and others.
With 300 employees and 21,800 sq m (235,000
sq ft) of manufacturing space, the company
operates round the clock. Its trio of Cincinnati
three-spindle, five axis gantry mills can machine
42 m-long (140 ft) workpieces, while Sonaca’s
automated painting and anodizing lines handle
wing assemblies up to 18 m ( 60 ft) in length. It
also has two automated riveting lines, capable of
drilling, countersinking, and installing threaded
fasteners or solid rivets. “We’re a fully integrated
operation, with all of the necessary processes
under one roof,” says Stafiej. “By machining right
through to assembly, testing, and finishing of wing
structures, we offer a shorter cycle time and allow
the customer to avoid unnecessary logistics costs.”
Transitioning to total control
It wasn’t always that way, and it wasn’t always
Sonaca Montreal. National Metal Finishing (NMF)
began as a privately owned shot peening service
company in 1992, and earned a name for itself as
the go-to place for peen forming of wing panels.
Unfortunately, the economic downturn following
9-11 hit the company hard and the owner took the
difficult decision to sell. After negotiations with
Sonaca Group, NMF became part of the aerospace
company’s seven facility, 2,400 employee family.
Although Sonaca Montreal has expanded
the Modig extrusion mill is equipped with three rotary chucks
which grip bar stock and extruded materials up to 254 mm ( 10 in.)
from both ends simultaneously.