Buckeye Shapeform Uses Deep-Draw Technology to Create Detailed TOW Missile Housing

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Buckeye Shapeform is using deep-draw technology to create the detailed metal housings for TOW missiles. The company has invested in 3-D laser scanning to ensure missile housings meet tight specifications.

There are more than 400 critical features in the housing, and each feature has to fall within very specific measurements.

Buckeye Shapeform, which is experiencing a year heavy with military contract work, has been selected to create the missile skins for the tube-launched, optically tracked and wireless-guided missiles known as TOW missiles.

About 45 percent of Buckeye Shapeform’s work this year is comprised of military contract work, and the work on the TOW missile housing is a new job for the company, said Ken Tumblison, president of Buckeye Shapeform, a company that makes customized enclosures or housings for a variety of components.

“For this contract, we are creating the missile skin, or the housing for the components that go into the TOW missile,” Tumblison said. “We are using our deep-draw technology to get the metal forming to come within the specifications that the part demands.”

Buckeye Shapeform’s 5-axis machining capabilities allows it to create the various holes, scallops and final features demanded by the missile housing specifications. But Buckeye Shapeform has invested in the latest 3-D laser scanning equipment to make sure that its housing is meeting the tight military specifications.

“There are more than 400 features in the housing, and each feature has to fall within very specific measurements,” Tumblison said. “So we are investing in a high-tech scanner that will take an image of the part and tell the technician by virtue of the scan if all 400-plus features are within specification. And the scanner does that within 8 to 10 minutes. To do that manually would take an inordinate amount of time.”

The preciseness of the housing is crucial, Tumblison said, especially for military applications.

In addition to being fast, the 3-D laser scanner is highly accurate, creating about 75,000 points per second and providing ample data with which to create a 3-D color map. The color map can then be pulled up on a computer and matched against the CAD model to see how well the features are matching up to the model.

TOW missiles are the preferred heavy assault, anti-armor weapons system in NATO, coalition, United Nations and peacekeeping operations throughout the world. TOW weapons systems are expected to be in service beyond 2025.

About Buckeye Shapeform
Founded in 1902, Buckeye Shapeform includes Buckeye Enclosures, Buckeye Novelty Cans, Buckeye Knobs and Buckeye Deep Draw Technology. Buckeye Enclosures offers a complete line of off-the-shelf instrumentation enclosures as well as services for modifying standard enclosures and creating completely customized solutions in either metal or plastic material that’s widely used in the military, medical, audio/visual, and telecommunications industries. For more information, please visit http://www.buckeyeshapeform.com.


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Michele Lemmon
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Ken Tumblison, President
since: 02/2011
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