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Precision for the space

Almost 2,800 satellites are currently orbiting the Earth.

It is nothing new that satellites are launched into space - but do they also work at a distance of 36,000 km from the earth?

How are they tested? And what does WALDRICH COBURG have to do with it?

Extensive tests on the transmitting and receiving antennas of geostationary telecommunications satellites are carried out on earth in special measuring chambers, so-called "compact ranges". The environmental conditions must be as stable as possible.

At the heart of the facility are two huge, specially shaped metal mirrors. These create a flat wave front over a short distance, simulating the distance between the receivers on Earth and the satellite in space.

And this is where WALDRICH COBURG portal machines are involved.

Because at 12 x 3 m, the mirror components are as large as a mobile home. This means that they are very large - and they also have to be machined with great precision. And this is done by WALDRICH COBURG.

The challenge

5-section main reflector and 4-section subreflector with curved surface

Airbus Defence and Space GmbH has placed an order by us for a main reflector and a sub-reflector.

The segments have a size of 12 x 3 m and weight of 35 tonnes. The entire main reflector is 12 x 15 m in size when assembled.

The following parameters are specified in the machining:

  • Permissible form deviation of the curved surface max. 35µm RMS.
  • Permissible roughness of the reflector surface: Ra < 2µm
  • In addition to accuracy, an optically homogeneous reflector surface is also required.

All possible machining operations from roughing with 25mm depth of cut to fine finishing with 0.03mm depth of cut are used. Drilling, tapping and rubbing thousands of holes and milling in any shape are necessary. The curved surface is produced by 5-axis milling and a fine finishing cutter specially developed for this purpose.

This results in a total milling path length of the total surface of almost 25 km.

Why does Airbus Defence & Space rely on WALDRICH COBURG?

"WALDRICH COBURG meets the highly demanding requirements for the surface accuracy of our Compact Range reflectors to our complete satisfaction.

That is why we have relied on a partnership with WALDRICH COBURG for the manufacture of our measuring systems for more than three decades."

(Airbus Defence & Space)

Technical specifications of machine

  • WALDRICH COBURG portal milling machine in gantry design
  • Clearance: Width 4.500 mm x Height 4.000 mm / Setup length: 27.000 mm
  • Automatic Attachment and Tool changer (8 / 240 pieces)
  • Max. Milling Power 80 kW
  • Position spread according to VDI/DGQ 3441: Ps (X/Y/Z in µm): 11/5/2

The first parts were delivered to Airbus Defence and Space GmbH on 20 January.

The first package has impressive dimensions: 13.3 x 3.4 x 2.0 metres

We are the right partner for precise machining operations

Precise surfaces

The track crossings of the surface and the separation points of the individual segments must not be measurable or tangible. The optical impression of the surface is somewhat deceptive here, because the human eye recognizes more than any measuring device.

 

Subcontracting

The highest precision, also for you!

 

 

Even if you do not own a WALDRICH COBURG, you do not need to forego high precision components.

 

Our satisfied customers produce products in a wide range of sectors: Power station components, diesel engines, rolling mill plants, printing presses and machine tools, aerospace, general mechanical engineering, and much more. 

 

You can utilize our know-how from this broad spectrum of application and profit from our in-house pool of latest machinery.

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