Stressed out aerospace companies can take to the skies after Wheelabrator Group announced it had signed an exclusive deal with high-tech French peening specialists Sonats, bringing a new range of machines to Asia. Sonats’ innovative technology is similar to traditional shotpeening processes, using the impact of small spherical media to impart stresses on the surface of a component
to increase fatigue life. However, instead of propelling the balls under pressure via nozzles, metallic elements form an acoustic block, vibrating with an ultrasound frequency to maintain momentum – named Stresssonic®.
The aim is to introduce compressive residual stresses for fatigue life enhancement or to be able to reduce the distortion after other manufacturing processes. The Stresssonic process is very repeatable which is a key point within the aerospace industry. There are only three parameters to be controlled: mass of balls, time and vibration amplitude of the sonotrode. All are continuously controlled during the treatment.
The Beijing Aeronautical Manufacturing Technology Research Institute (BAMTRI), was interested in this new process and after few demonstrations was convinced that this was the solution to their shot peening issue. Bamtri bought a Stressvoyager® unit and is operating it in their plant in Beijing for shot peening aircraft components after welding and also for the peen forming of wing panels.