This month Aerospace Metal is proud to announce some new capabilities, new processes, and additional machining capabilities. We are also teaming up with a proven leader in the metal finishing industry and expanding our work capacity in the process with our new strategic partners at LMI Aerospace. LMI Aerospace is one of America’s leading providers of structural assemblies, tool kits and components. LMI is also a supplier of design engineering products and services to the commercial, defense and aerospace industries. Some new processes added to our list of capabilities include spray masking, laser scribe operations, new machining technology, sub-assembly, and chemical milling.

What is Chemical Milling?

Chemical milling is also known as industrial etching. It’s a subtractive manufacturing process utilizing baths of temperature-regulated etching chemicals to remove material to produce features like channels and pockets. Chemical milling creates complex and impressively accurate precision components for almost any metal type.

The Process of Chemical Milling

At the beginning of the chemical milling process, your product will first be cleaned, removing any surface contaminants, prior to applying a maskant to protect the surfaces that do not need to be etched.

This can be done either through a tank dipping process, or robotically sprayed onto the parts. LMI Aerospace has both capabilities in-house.

Next, the areas that require material removal will be exposed from the blank by stripping the maskant off. These areas get scribed out either through a manual scribe process using a metal or fiberglass tool, or through a 5-axis laser scribe machine.

The final step is moving the parts into the chemical milling tank where tight process controls are in place to remove just the right amount of material to meet customer specifications for any application or assembly that the components are intended for, whether it’s for aerospace, automotive, military, or commercial end use.

The Advantages of Chemical Milling

There are numerous advantages when it comes to the chemical milling process, including:
Competitively low tooling costs;
Complex contours that give treated components the capability to be easily machined, whether it’s a hard or delicate material;
High surface finishes are obtainable – flawless and free from burrs;
And difficult to machine materials are able to be processed efficiently.

Specifically in the aerospace sector, craft components can be treated using chemical milling to become lighter while still maintaining its strength and integrity.

Our New Capabilities

Beginning in October 2022, Aerospace Metals will offer a significant amount of increased capacity available for chemical milling as well as:

3D printing capability for fabrication of tooling and associated hardware;
Additional chemical processing lines (8-ft and 12-ft);
Nondestructive testing services (penetrant inspection, magnetic particle, and hardness testing);
Conductivity testing services; and
A full-service organic coating department featuring (2) 52-ft and (1) 26-ft paint booths with capacity to hold up to 10 painters per shift.

Our organic coating team has the expertise to apply a wide variety of organic coatings including:
Solvent, Water Base and Heat Resistant and Non-Chromated primers
Epoxy and Polyurethane Topcoats
CARC (Chemical Agent Resistant Coating)
Anti Chafe Teflon Coating
Fuel Tank Coating
Sol-Gel for Cres and Titanium Alloys
Dry Film Lubricants

Our Organic Coating and Masking Departments work closely to provide world-class service to our customers. Catia-based masking instructions combined with innovative conveyance systems enables the team to provide complex masking schemes with a high level of accuracy.

Metal finishing processes now available include:
· Alkaline Cleaner Type I
· Alkaline Cleaner Type III (Titanium)
· Pre-Penetrant Etch-Aluminum and Titanium
· Chromic Acid Anodize Type I Class 1
· Boric Sulfuric Acid Anodize Type IC Class 1 and Class 5
· Sulfuric Acid Anodize Type II Class 1 and Class II (Black)
· Sulfuric Acid Anodize Type III (Hardcoat)
· Conversion Coat Alodine 600 Class 3 Multi-Colored
· Conversion Coat Alodine 1200S Class 1A and Class 3 Multi-Colored
· Conversion Coat Alodine 1500 Class 3 Colorless
All of this means we can now provide a higher level of service to our existing clients AND we can fill this increased capacity with new customers or increased orders that are completed more quickly and accurately than ever before.

If you are interested in learning more about our operations, products and services, we invite you to please come in for a tour or give Paul Fredericks and his staff a call for a free quote at (800) 398-0790. To see more information about our services, please visit our website at High-Quality Metal Finishing Services – Aerospace Metals (