Local aerospace manufacturer acquires exclusive tech that can make engines quieter

CTL Aerospace officials say the new tech would allow the company to expand into electronics, too.

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

WEST CHESTER TWP. — CTL Aerospace officials say their company is set to grow after acquiring unique new machinery that unlocks an “absolute growth potential” and gives the manufacturer a competitive edge in creating noise-abating parts for its aerospace customers.

The company’s new technology is called precision abrasive machining, and it was described by Vice President of Sales Scott Crislip and Senior Program Manager Craig LaVoie as an advanced method of sandblasting — a controlled, high pressure stream of abrasive material that can perforate or drill materials.

Currently, CTL is using the technology to make jet engines quieter for its customers by precisely perforating 1/16 inch holes in the components that comprise engine inlets.

“What it does is it helps dampen out the noise from fans in gas turbine engines,” Crislip said. “So, instead of that real high-pitched whine that you used to hear when aircrafts would be approaching, this really dissipates that noise.”

LaVoie told the Journal-News that the technology can be implemented outside the aircraft industry, too. CTL’s methodology is so precise that it can drill holes as small as 200 microns wide, about two times wider than a strand of hair, which has garnered interest from tech companies, “including a really large company in the communications business,” Crislip said.

“Not only can we do the size of holes that we need right now, but there’s also the potential to do microblasting for wafers for the electronics industry,” Crislip said.

CTL is the sole proprietor of the technology after the company bought the intellectual property and equipment from a Minnesota-based manufacturer last year before moving it into a designated new area of their West Chester facility.

Crislip said the intellectual property revolves around making and adhering the stencil, or mask, to the piece CTL wants to perforate. The methodology brings a greater precision to sandblasting and doesn’t come with the charred edges of laser drilling or the whirling drill bits in mechanical drilling, Crislip said.

Currently, CTL is using the technology exclusively on an order from one of its largest overseas customers, but Crislip said that CTL would soon market the noise-abating components to its other customers. Crislip said nearly a dozen aerospace customers have expressed interest in the noise-abating components, and “quite a few” electronics companies have also reached out.

“There’s been a lot of industry interest in this capability so, as soon as we meet our [current] production needs, we’ll also be marketing this toward other customers,” Crislip said.

Crislip noted that the precision abrasive machining section of CTL’s business will likely become an around-the-clock operation “because the demand is going to be that high.” Crislip expects CTL to hire more workers to meet demand.

CTL’s acquisition of the new tech and plans to expand their business landed the company a formal Ohio Senate Recognition of Excellence, followed by an on-site ceremony last Friday attended by U.S. Rep. Warren Davidson (R-Miami County), Butler County Auditor Nancy Nix, Ohio Sen. George Lang (R-West Chester) and West Chester Trustee Mark Welch.

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