AST is proud to have contributed to the expansion of human spaceflight.
Specializing in forged components utilized in Aerospace, Alternative Energy, and Automotive applications.
What's New at AST
Our unique rotary forging and spin forming technologies enable AST to produce complex product geometries and to deliver superior value in our customers’ challenging environments.
WHAT WE DO
Unmatched Material Efficiency
Our four CNC rotary forging presses employ a state-of-the-art process technology designed to combine exceptional near net forging results with unrivaled cost effectiveness. Rotary forging presses compress the billet stock between two synchronized tools angled at five degrees from parallel. This allows for targeted grain compression and thus yields superior mechanical properties and metallurgical characteristics. Compared to conventional hydraulic presses, rotary forging reduces tooling setup times and allows for higher spindle utilization rates. This is a significant cost advantage for our customers. The largest rotary forging press can forge parts with a diameter of 40”.
Advanced Metal Forming Process
Spin and Flow forming are advanced metal forming processes designed to manufacture complex cylindrical, conical or spherical shapes from forged preforms. Multiple CNC controlled rollers mechanically work material over tools, creating a near net shape on the outside and inside diameter. AST has a total of 7 spin/flow forming machines, which create a wide variety of rotationally symmetric shapes with a high degree of material efficiency. Our largest machines with 65 tons per axis creates large diameter tubes and nozzles for high profile space applications, oversized military wheels up to 27” diameter or 30” diameter truck wheels. Other machines are fully automated with a robotic arm loading and unloading parts, making them highly efficient and cost effective for larger volume orders. AST is one of the largest and most innovative spin and flow forming companies in the world.
AST has both a conventional and CNC machine shop with over 45 machines for lathe turning and milling. To complement the capabilities of forming large diameter parts, the machine shop has a large line-up of machines with a swing of over 40” diameter. The primary role of the machine shop is to deliver customers finished machined blanks, which subsequently only require the finished mill work. Another major field of work is the production of new and replacement tooling for the forming operation. The machine shop is strategically organized to serve the multiple product segments. A major component of the success of the machine shop is the ability for quick setups between different customer work orders. This means an elaborate library of programs with proven simulations, part number grouped tooling kits and a highly skilled staff of manufacturing engineers and programmers.
Certified and Surveyed Systems
AST has two separate, in-house heat treat systems. One system is a continuous belt furnace and the second system is a drop bottom furnace. Both certified and surveyed systems support most aluminum alloys and are continuously monitored for temperature uniformity and process control. Heat treatment is an important function to support continuous and volume manufacturing of all forged products. All product is run through a rigorous post heat treat process, which consistently monitors hardness data and samples of mechanical properties.
Committed to Safely & Efficiently Delivering Quality
AST has a robust quality assurance organization, which audits and monitors all manufacturing processes from the receiving inspection of raw material, first article inspections, all the way to final inspection before products ship to the customers. All AST processes are based on detailed engineering drawings and control plans with predefined in-process inspection sheets. Quality Assurance has numerous inspection instruments at their disposal to check and approve each process. This ranges from the most modern laser inspection systems to simple go/no-go templates. AST also has a metallurgist on staff to take a detailed look at metallurgical details, like grain structure and mechanical properties. AST is ISO 9001:2015 certified.
Metalforming relies significantly on tooling to control how material moves from a starting shape to a deliverable of the process. AST has a significant advantage to control costs and schedules by fabricating all the tooling used in forging and spin/flowforming in-house in our conventional and CNC machine shop. This allows AST to produce a full tooling package within a few weeks and at a fraction of the costs. The other important approach is to design all tools in a modular fashion to allow for a tremendous amount of flexibility. This way AST can use common tooling on numerous components of the same diameter and style. This again reduces the amount of dedicated tooling needed and allows for shorter lead times, more product variation and a better value for the customer.