Harbour Industries Case Study - Melt Extrusion Process
Process Makes Perfect – Melt Extrusion Saves Time and Money
Although commonly used in the manufacturing process of aerospace data cables, PTFE ram (formally known as PTFE paste extrusion) extrusion of inner conductors has a number of negatives. The nature of this process and its start-and-stop production method causes ram extrusion to have longer lead times, shorter average lengths leading to greater scrap. Finally, the very nature of PTFE leads to problematic downstream process handling- cutting and stripping during connectorization as each cut may often need custom hand trimming.
Harbour’s engineering staff pioneered a breakthrough manufacturing solution using a proprietary Fluoropolymer melt extrusion process. This continuous melt extrusion produces longer average lengths per spool, resulting in less scrap and shorter installation times. This process greatly increases throughput time: a 400% process yield compared to ram extrusion.
Harbour’s capability to foam the fluoropolymer provides top-line electrical performance and reduces overall cable weight by as much as 10%.
On top of these improvements, Harbour created a proprietary method that creates a "skin" providing strength and durability. This user-friendly product helps prevent damage from nicking and scraping during installation on the aircraft. At Harbour Industries, melt extrusion is used in the manufacture of DATA MASTER® quad, gigabit Ethernet, twisted pair among others, and is available under the brand names DataMaster Aero®, AeroFit® and AeroBit® 8.
Time is money, and melt extrusion saves significant time in both manufacturing and installation. First, we offer shorter lead times thanks to the 4X throughput rate. Customers can hold less product on the shelf, thereby lowering inventory costs. Customers also report measurably shorter installation times for DATA MASTER® cables. This is critical for meeting aggressive timelines for new and refurbished aircraft and will reduce overall labor costs.
Applications: In-Flight Entertainment Systems, Cabin Management Systems and Satellite Communications