Precision Aerospace Welding, CNC Machining Are Specialties of Award-Winning Job Shop
PASADENA, Calif.—Advanced Technology Company (ATCo, www.at-co.com) aims for the highest quality on-time products using laser welding and electron beam welding techniques honed over four decades by the aerospace industry provider. The company has been providing quality welds since its founding in 1971, and its accolades include winning the George M. Low Award for quality and excellence in 1997-98 from NASA. ATCo’s fellow quality and excellence winners for this NASA award include Raytheon, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrup Grumman, and Hamilton Standard.
“The meticulous attention-to-detail demanded by our customers is evident in all of Advanced Technology’s work,” said Brian J. Smith, who heads sales for the Pasadena, California-based firm. “Our fluid staff has a wide range of skillsets, allowing us to rotate responsibilities.”
ATCo also won the Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s “Supplier Trust & Recognition” award in 2014. In addition to NASA and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, ATCo’s other customers include researchers at Cal Tech, which, like the jet propulsion lab and ATCo, is based in Pasadena.
The firm can achieve a depth of penetration range of 0.010 inch to 1.5 inch using the electron beam welding technique. Using laser beam welding, the firm can achieve a depth of penetration range of 0.010 inches to 0.055 inch. The company’s CNC department can meet a minimum tolerance of nearly 0.0002 inch.
“What makes ATCo unique is our ability to provide machining services and highly detailed welding capabilities in our 20,000-square-foot modern facility,” Smith said. The firm, which employs about 50 people, is certified to ISO 9001:2008 and AS9100C, and is Nadcap accredited.
Advanced Technology Company recently acquired an Amada Nd:YAG 300 Watt laser welding machine that has enabled the firm to expand its workload capabilities while enhancing its laser welding processes. “This machine currently resides in our newly added ‘clean room,’ making this an ideal place to weld parts that have extreme sanitation requirements,” said Smith.
ATCo promotes its electron beam welding as providing consistent weld size and high strength while achieving a deep penetration with a narrow weld. It provides the ability to weld thick to thin materials, as well as welding dissimilar metals. The list of metals welded using the electron beam method include aluminum alloys, stainless steel and precipitation hardening alloys, low and high alloy steels, nickel and cobalt alloys, titanium alloys, copper alloys, and refractory metal.
“We work closely with the customer to meet the customer’s needs. We overcome obstacles in the development and work side-by-side with the customer to make the project successful,” Smith said. “ATCo has found that careful processing, attention to detail, utilization of modern well-maintained equipment, and adherence to an effective production control system reduces cost and improves quality.”
ATCo also uses gas tungsten arc welding (GTAW) to weld stainless steels, Inconel 718, Incoloy 901, A286, and titanium alloys. For high quantity jobs, ATCo prefers its laser beam welding technology because it is fast and accurate, Smith said.
A partial list of materials that the company has cut, drilled, or welded using laser beam welding techniques includes aluminum, brass, carbon steel, cast iron, ceramics, coated steels, and copper galvanized steel. It also includes Hastelloy X, Inconel, molybdenum, Monel, nickel, tantalum, and titanium.
For one customer, a major U.S. aerospace company, ATCo was challenged to develop a cost-effective aluminum welding process for a new aircraft engine part. This project took more than two years to accomplish because of the customer’s rigorous demands and the physical challenges of producing a part for the inside of an aircraft engine. The major technical challenge was to satisfy the weld requirements on a part with complex geometry. ATCo’s design engineers helped create tooling and helped redesign the weld joints as needed. In-house engineers were also instrumental in solving difficult mechanical and thermal issues, such as through the development of heat sinks.
ATCo also makes hydraulic acoustic filters that are used by American and international aircraft companies to dampen noise from hydraulic systems. To make these filters, ATCo uses CNC machining, assembly, non-destructive testing, and laser marking. It also employs pressure testing, dimensional inspection, and surface treatments.
In addition, the company manufactures steam silencers for nuclear submarines, using conventional machining, cleaning, gas tungsten welding, and assembly, as well as non-destructive testing, pressure testing, and dimensional inspections.
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