The Critical Role of Metalworking in Aerospace & Defense

Posted by Samuel Ibrahim, Jr. on Thu, Aug 03, 2017

The aerospace and defense industries require a vast stock of varied parts, most of which must meet stringent regulations and guidelines. Parts used in these sensitive, safety-focused sectors require:

  • Expert engineering — Components must be designed to meet explicit and unique use cases
  • Optimum manufacturability — Parts must be manufactured simply and efficiently
  • High precision — Pieces must meet extremely tight tolerances and quality requirements

iStock-490855086.jpgMetalworking Services

To meet these defense industry requirements, manufacturers employ a number of metalworking processes to produce their components; metal spinning, hydroforming, and welding are some of the most popular methods.

Metal Spinning

Metal spinning, sometimes known as spin forming, is a metal forming process in which pressure is applied to a spinning disk of metal, forming it around a tool. Metal spinning is particularly well-suited to producing parts with unique curves or grooves, such as cones, cylinders, and parabolas, and can be performed either hot or cold depending on the particular material being spun.

Best performed with ductile metals such as aluminum, brass, carbon steel, copper, Inconel, stainless steel, and titanium, metal spinning also uses less raw material — and creates less scrap material — than many other metal forming techniques.


hydroform.jpgHydroforming, a deep draw process, uses very high water pressure, up to 10,000 psi, to shape metal. Like metal spinning, sheet hydroforming is ideal for large-volume runs; unlike metal spinning, hydroforming can handle very thin metal sheet and maintains original metal finishes.

The process allows for a great degree of precision, even when producing large parts — this is particularly important for defense applications. Similarly, aerospace hydroforming is especially well-suited for housings and covers made from specialty materials, such as nickel.


iStock-620985640.jpgOne of the oldest metalworking processes still in use today, welding remains a highly effective way to join metal parts. When performed by highly skilled craftspeople or on state-of-the-art automated machinery, welding can easily maintain the strict standards required by the aerospace and defense industries. Aerospace welding and defense welding is performed in one of four ways.

Metal Inert Gas (MIG) welding, also known as Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW), is a method of welding in which an electric arc is formed between a consumable electrode wire and the workpieces: The electrode melts at the arc point, depositing molten metal onto the workpieces. The metal then solidifies, thus joining the workpieces together.

Tungsten Inert Gas (TIG) welding, also known as Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (GTAW), uses a non-consumable electrode made of tungsten. As with MIG welding, an electric arc is created, but instead of melting the electrode onto the workpieces, the workpieces themselves are heated and melted along the join, fusing together as solidification occurs.

Soldering, used almost exclusively in electronics and other delicate applications, uses heat instead of an electric arc to melt a joining material into workpieces.

Finally, automated seam welding refers to either MIG or TIG welding that is performed by an automated welding machine. A common type of aerospace welding, automated seam welding can produce high-quality joins at high volumes.

Learn More 

iStock-516732235.jpgWorking with materials such as titanium, 321 stainless steel, and 7075, 5052, and 6061 aluminum, Helander has been offering industry-leading metalworking services for over 80 years. We’re proud to offer a range of metal spinning, hydroforming, and welding services, enabling clients to easily meet the stringent manufacturing, engineering, and precision requirements of the aerospace and defense industries.

To learn how Helander incorporates lean manufacturing methods to streamline process and ensure quality during production, check out our latest eBook. To discuss how the Helander team can help with your next aerospace or defense project, contact us today.

Helander Commitment to Lean Manufacturing

Posted by Samuel Ibrahim, Jr. on Thu, Mar 23, 2017

Here at Helander, we’re always working to improve our products and processes, so three years ago, with this commitment in mind, we adopted the principles of lean manufacturing.iStock-622062742.jpg

The Basics of the 5S Process

The 5S process, famously implemented by the Toyota Company in the 1970s, is built around five key steps (all beginning with the letter “S”), which aim to streamline and organize work processes. By optimizing manufacturing efficiency, safety, and quality, these guidelines help companies produce the highest-quality spun metal products for their customers. Below, we’ve outlined three of the five steps of comprehensive lean manufacturing to improve upon our metal spinning and hydroforming processes.

  • Seiri, or Sort — The first “S” centers on decluttering, in which infrequently used tools and supplies are put in storage, unnecessary items find new homes, and essential equipment is designated to the most accessible areas. By isolating and removing any workplace obstacles, companies can streamline their processes and ensure accountability.
  • Seiton, or Set in Order — The second of the five “S” steps involves creating a smooth, straightforward workflow. Tool arrangements should be simple, and the right equipment should be easy to select. Under this approach, different departments may use different types of storage to best meet their specific needs. 
  • Seiso, or Shine — Clean, clean, clean! At Helander, we began our lean manufacturing implementation by cleaning and painting every single machine in our facility. We also set up a regular cleaning schedule, which includes both standard tidying and thorough machinery maintenance and inspection. The cleaner a space is, the easier it is to keep processes running safely and effectively.

Lean Manufacturing at Helander

To provide our customers with the best possible service available, the team at Helander proudly follows the five pillars of lean manufacturing to ensure safety and efficiency in everything we do, from polishing to welding.

To learn more about the 5S system of lean manufacturing — and to read about the sixth “S” we’ve added to our process — download our new eBook today.

The Versatility of Metal Spinning and Hydroforming

Posted by Samuel Ibrahim, Jr. on Mon, Jan 09, 2017

An extremely versatile technique dating back to ancient times, metal spinning — also known as metal turning or spin forming — allows ductile metal to be formed into different shapes by rotating it on a spindle. 

Hydroforming is also utilized to form metal into varying shapes. The main difference with hydroforming is that it uses pressurized hydraulic fluids to shape a flat metal disc.

Without removing any of the material, and thereby keeping the metal strong, these process can turn malleable metals into high-performance parts for a wide range of applications and industries.

Below, we’ve outlined just a few of the many uses of metal-spun products.


Consumer Food.png

Consumer Food Equipment — Custom metal spinning for the food industry can create high-pressure cookers and smokers, as well as various decorative pieces in a range of sizes, materials, and finishes.

Aerospace and Defense.png

Aerospace and Defense —– Metal spinning can form durable custom covers for military-grade engines, as well as high-performance parts with intricate design features for critical-use applications.


Agriculture — Metal-spun components such as livestock feeding bowls and earthmoving equipment are popular in farming and agriculture applications.


Oil — High-precision metal spinning can create large groups of parts that nest together for oil drilling applications.


Furniture — To achieve the sleek, clean aesthetics necessary for modern metal furniture, metal-spun and hydroformed components are often used for various features such as table columns and chair bases.

Commercial Lighting and Architecture.png

Commercial Lighting and Architecture — Drawing from a variety of materials including copper, brass, stainless steel, and aluminum, metal spinning can form light reflectors and door handles for commercial-scale buildings.

Green Energy.pngGreen Energy — Metal spinning and hydroforming is used in the alternative energy industry to fabricate stainless steel gas burner tubes, vessels, and electrical housings for solar, steam, wind, and fuel cell applications.

Specialty Automotive.png

Specialty Automotive — The hot rod industry requires specialized components to suit vintage and custom cars. Metal spinning combined with hydroforming can form vintage-style hubcaps, spring retainers, and other cylindrical parts to precise specifications.

Filtration and Separation.png

Filtration and Separation — Perforated baskets and cartridges can be metal spun for air filtration applications.

Medical and Laboratory Equipment.png

Medical and Laboratory Equipment — Spinning can form medical-imaging ring housings, floats, and other components for high-tech medical applications while meeting strict industry specifications.

Street, Sanitation, and Trucking.png
Street, Sanitation, and Trucking — The flanged steel rings and ring housings used by street sweepers and sewer cleaning equipment can be metal spun to a range of thicknesses.


For over 80 years, Chicago, Illinois-based Helander has provided diverse metal spinning capabilities for all of the above industries. Our Helander company has continued to evolve over time to match the ever-changing demands of these diverse sectors and serve our customers to the best of our ability. We proudly partner with companies of all sizes and industries to design precise parts for their unique needs.

To learn more about our metal spinning experience and past projects, download our free portfolio collection

Helander Receives Aerospace Industry Certifications

Posted by Samuel Ibrahim, Jr. on Thu, May 19, 2016

Helander Company has been a staple of the industry for generations, producing prototypes and full production runs for industries ranging from high-end furniture, to medicine and aerospace.

Aerospace_1.jpgEven with our decades of experience, clients deserve confirmation that the work they receive is the best available. To that end, we make it a point to maintain certifications from the industry’s top organizations, including:

  • Nadcap — The National Aerospace and Defense Contractors Accreditation Program (Nadcap), a certification program administered by PRI (Performance Review Institute), ensures that all contractors working within the industry meet stringent quality and safety criteria. The cooperative program aims to improve reliability and quality while reducing quality assurance costs. To become certified, a company must undergo a PRI on-site audit, which examines their execution of a particular industry specialty, such as chemical processing, heat treating, or conventional machining. Helander team received our latest certification in welding in November, 2015, reinforcing our inclusion on the Nadcap approved vendors list.
  • Honeywell SCA (Source Certifying Agent) — We employ a number of Source Certifying Agents (SCAs) to oversee production at Helander. All SCAs must register and take a detailed exam in order to qualify as an Agent. Serving as highly educated, highly trained process experts, SCAs act as the key contact point between our team and our customers. For example, we have an SCA certified in Honeywell processes who specifically manages our work with Honeywell and ensures that we maintain technical compliance with all Honeywell equipment, procedures, and requirements.
  • AS9100C — Helander holds AS9100 Rev. C certification in metal spinning services and hydroforming for the commercial, aerospace, and defense sectors. A standard quality management system used by contractors across the aerospace industry, AS9100 supplements our ISO 9001:2008 certificate and ensures consistent adherence to the industry’s most stringent standards of service, safety, and quality. We have been certified as consistently following the best existing practices, materials, and metal spinning processes outlined by all regulatory agencies associated with the commercial, aerospace, and defense fields.
Meeting Demanding Requirements Every Day

Our certifications demonstrate our deep commitment to quality, but we don’t stop there. Our team is dedicated to meeting the tight tolerances and fast turnaround times that our clients need to keep their projects on budget and on time.  

Working with titanium, stainless steel, aluminum, and more diverse metals, our experienced staff delivers certified quality products to customers around the world. For more information about our certifications or to inquire about we can help with your project, contact us directly.

Tags: Metal Spinning, Custom Fabrication, aluminum, NADCAP, Honeywell

Metal-Spun Furniture: Maximizing Strength and Beauty with Steel

Posted by Samuel Ibrahim, Jr. on Wed, Mar 02, 2016

Solutions for Custom Furniture Design

The modern use of metals to construct furniture dates back to cast iron tables created in the early 19th century; contemporary designers seeking custom parts still frequently rely on metal for the construction of high quality furniture. Metal furniture not only remains durable and strong throughout its lifetime, but it also offers construction flexibility and deeply pleasing aesthetics.  While many metal forming processes exist for furniture construction, one of the best methods to create attractive and complex furniture projects is metal spinning.

Flexible Options for Design and Construction

furniture02-large.jpgWorking with materials like steel, metal spinning can be used to create custom furniture to match precise design specifications. Custom steel products feature high strength and excellent work hardening rates, but also remain highly machinable—allowing for spinning into virtually any custom shape that procurers require. Available dimensions include thicknesses from 0.040” to 0.135”, widths up to 24” in diameter, and heights up to 40”.

The design flexibility of custom steel furniture allows customers to request pieces ranging from classic to contemporary or more modern industrial stylings with a breadth of aesthetic finishing options, including polish, chrome, paint, and satin brush finish. Depending on design specifications, steel can take on a full array of custom looks, textures, and colors with satin, matte, reflective, mirror, bead blasted, or other finishes. This allows for maximum flexibility in sourcing furniture components of many different looks—all while maintaining the highest quality.

An Ideal Material for Furniture

To create components like metal table columns and chair bases, it is imperative to use materials that can maintain strength as well as beauty. Steel not only offers the strength needed for furniture applications, but also offers excellent longevity with minimal maintenance.

More Than Just Metal Spinning

A range of methods can be used to augment and complete the metal spinning process; welding, hydroforming, and other metal-working processes are also employed in fabricating furniture from steel. At Helander Company, we offer a full variety of metalworking processes to manufacture furniture that fulfills our customers’ exact specifications. We also provide a variety of finishes to create furniture offer the most pleasing aesthetics with superior strength.

To learn more about metal spinning and how it can add a unique and distinctive style to custom furniture, check out our latest eBook: Metal Spinning = Cost Effective Metal Forming.  In it, you will learn about the process’s many advantages, including its flexibility, excellent metal yield, reduced material requirements, and more—all essential for custom furniture and a wealth of other applications.          

How cost effective is metal spinning? Click here to find out


Tags: Metal Spinning, Custom Fabrication, stainless steel, aluminum, copper

Metal Spinning: Creating Superior Food Processing Equipment

Posted by Samuel Ibrahim, Jr. on Tue, Jan 26, 2016

Durability in the Most Important Settings

In the world of food processing, manufacturing the highest quality equipment is of paramount importance.  Not only does food need to be kept safe, but the equipment itself must be able to function smoothly even in the most difficult industrial conditions. 

Food processing equipment needs to endure high temperatures and resist corrosion in damp environments.  While there are a number of different materials and processes that are commonly used to manufacture this equipment, metal spinning using stainless steel allows for highly durable equipment that meets customers’ exact specifications.


The Advantages of Stainless Steel

food03-large.jpgCorrosion-resistant, easy to clean, and recognized worldwide for its adherence to tough quality standards, stainless steel is known for being an excellent material for food processing equipment.      

  • Corrosion-resistant —The material is known for maintaining smooth surfaces even years after manufacture.
  • Highly Durable — Its excellent longevity comes from unparalleled corrosion resistance, saving money in the long run by reducing maintenance, repair and replacement frequency.
  • Recyclable—An environmentally friendly metal, stainless steel is not only 100% recyclable, but it can also be easily cleaned. This eliminates the need for harsh, aggressive chemicals that would then be added to wastewater.
  • Excellent Flavor Protection—Stainless steel is completely non-reactive when it comes into contact with food; it does not take on any odor or flavor of food during manufacturing. This not only ensures the quality of the food, but also makes steel processing equipment easier to clean and re-use multiples times.
  • The Most Hygienic Metal—When sanitation is of the utmost importance, stainless steel is an excellent choice. The material is easy to clean and does not have any pores, which means that it will never retain dirt or bacteria when cleaned properly.
  • Meets All Relevant Standards—Parts made from stainless steel meet all applicable legislation and standards, including National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) guidelines and US CFR 21, part 110, subpart C, Sec. 110.40.

Metal Spinning and Hydroforming: A Superior Process

While a number of different processing methods can be used to manufacture commercial food equipment, metal spinning and hydroforming are among the strongest options.

Each method is highly efficient when compared to other processes, such as metal stamping.  Not only do metal spinning and hydroforming reduce scrap and material costs associated with stamping, but they also allow for maximum flexibility in equipment design.

These processes allow procurement professionals to fulfill almost any design specification, from heavy duty industrial cooking kettles to decorative bottles and more.

Helander From Start to Finish

At Helander, we lead the industry in manufacturing the highest quality commercial food equipment. Using a broad range of processes, including hydroforming, metal spinning, and welding, along with a complete array of finishing options, we manufacture every component to be ISO 9001:2008, AS9100 Rev. C certified.

This guarantees the highest quality at every step of the process.  To find out more about how Helander can help you fulfill your most demanding requirements for food processing equipment, please contact us.

 Learn More About  Metal Spinning and Hydroforming



Tags: Metal Spinning, Custom Fabrication, stainless steel, aluminum, copper

ASME- Compliant Quality

Posted by Samuel Ibrahim, Jr. on Fri, Nov 13, 2015

Helander Company is proud to have received an ASME “U” Stamp for our boiler and pressure vessel products. We have always been committed to quality and reliability, but what does this ASME compliance mean for you and your applications?

What is ASME?

ASME is an organization that allows engineers from all disciplines to share their knowledge and develop their skills through collaboration. Currently, the organization has more than 140,000 members across 151 countries. These members are college students, project managers, researchers, executives, and more.

Along with membership, ASME is capable of providing codes and standards across both private and public manufacturing industries. With such a broad reach, ASME safety standards apply across many different products and a range of applications.

Helander Quality

We have been certified as ASME compliant as an extension of our commitment to providing high-quality, ASME-compliant parts. We always strive to meet all requirements put forth from the client and regulatory standards.

We apply our high standards to the fabrication of float products, pressure vessels, and pressure heads.

  • Float Products – Our precision hydroforming and welding processes allow Helander to engineer and fabricate custom components for float valves. These products will meet or exceed the highest standards set by both our clients and all applicable regulations. We can provide a vast range of shapes and sizes in order to accommodate even the most demanding applications in industrial processes.
  • Pressure Vessels – Using a specialized hot spinning process, Helander is capable of producing seamless pressure vessels for use as gas storage reservoirs. Vessels can be produced with or without bottlenecks, depending on customer requirements, and can be produced with stainless steel, mild steel, aluminum, and more.
  • Pressure Heads – Vessel pressure head products can be produced through either our high-precision hydroforming capabilities or through our metal spinning process. Each of these heads can then be welded to the body of the pressure vessel, and are guaranteed to meet all ASME standards, as well as your own specifications.

If you are in need of pressure heads, pressure vessels, or float products, we can provide you with materials that meet all of your requirements. Our adherence to ASME standards for boiler and pressure vessels ensures that the finished product provides you with the highest quality and longest life possible.

For more information on our products and how we can assist with your needs, contact Helander today.

While you're here, check out our eBookMetal Spinning and Hydroforming- The Stamping Alternative, by clicking the link below.

 Learn More About  Metal Spinning and Hydroforming



Tags: Metal Spinning, Custom Fabrication, stainless steel, aluminum, copper

Metal Spinning Benefits and Applications

Posted by Samuel Ibrahim, Jr. on Tue, Oct 06, 2015

The metal spinning process consists of a tube or a disc of metal that is rotated at high-speed and machined into an axially symmetrical product using either a vertical or horizontal lathe. The advantage of spinning over other forming processes is its capacity to create seamless products from a single piece of material, with relatively low-cost tooling. Without seams, parts can withstand much higher internal and external pressures.

You will typically find spun metal components in decorative and architectural parts. Spun metal parts are also featured in variety of machines, cookware, gas cylinders, and brass instruments, and can be made from a variety of materials. Let's discuss the three most common materials for spinning. 


When considering material choices for spun parts, the most important factors are cost, the finished part's desired shape, and the application. It is well known that commodity prices fluctuate based on global supply and demand forces, fuel prices, and input material costs, but steel is generally a cheaper option than most other metals.

Steel is an extremely durable material, and much harder than aluminum. Its strength makes it less prone to warping, deformation, and bending under high forces or heat stress. Moreover, steel is a very dense material. In fact, it is 2.5-times denser than aluminum. This ensures that steel spun parts will not dent or scratch easily.


While aluminum is generally a more expensive option, it is more malleable and elastic than steel. It can therefore be used to create shapes with deeper and more intricate features – shapes that would end up cracking or ripping if spun with steel.

In addition to its malleability, aluminum is naturally resistant to corrosion and does not rust, and therefore it does not require any surface treatment after spinning. Since coating/painting is not required, you do not have to worry about scratching and surface wear, exposing the part to corrosion. This makes aluminum the natural choice for wet or abrasive environments. 


Copper, along with steel and aluminum, is one of the most commonly used materials in metal spinning. It is non-magnetic, versatile, and aesthetically appealing. Typically, copper is a more expensive option than aluminum or steel.

It is particularly known for its exceptional thermal and electrical conductivity, corrosion resistance, high ductility/workability, recyclability, and antimicrobial natural. Interestingly, its tensile strength actually doubles when work-hardened. Moreover, copper is a soft metal that is easy to work with.

Copper spun parts are often used for lighting, medical equipment, pipes and sinks, roofing, and decorative applications such as jewelry. 

Other Metals

In addition to steel, aluminum, and copper, Helander also manufactures spun parts using a variety of other metals such as Inconel, Hastelloy, titanium, bronze, and brass, each with their associated pros and cons. 

Metal spinning is often the best choice for symmetrical parts because of the seamless construction, low-cost tooling, and low levels of wasted material. A variety of metals can be formed into spun parts: the right choice depends on the cost requirements, the shape of the part, and the working conditions.

Steel is a low-cost material offering high strength and durability, while aluminum permits more complex part shapes and a greater resistance to corrosion. Copper is like aluminum in many ways, but is typically more expensive. For this reason, copper is often appropriate for applications where its aesthetic properties outweigh its high cost.

Want to learn more?

Contact us to learn more about our metal spinning capabilities and the various material options for your application, or check out our newest eBook, 5 Metal Spun and Hydroformed Items that Required Surface Finishingto learn more about how we can assist in your project from start to finish. 

Learn About 5 Products that  Require Surface Finishing


Tags: Metal Spinning, Custom Fabrication, stainless steel, aluminum, copper

Difficulties in Metal Spinning Special Alloys

Posted by Samuel Ibrahim, Jr. on Mon, Aug 17, 2015

Too often in the metal fabrication industry, the phrase “we're not set up for that” really means “we don't want to do that.” When customers are met with either the unwillingness to manufacture their parts to print or the inexperience to know how to do so properly, the end project suffers greatly. Granted, it's important for designs to be practical and feasible, but when a manufacturer says, “metal spinning with special alloys is just too difficult” it's simply not true...for Helander anyway.

Special alloys are in no way a hindrance to getting the custom parts you want, in the specifications you want them, and in the tightest of tolerances. In fact, one of the major advantages of creating parts via metal spinning is the ability to create quality, uniform, products out of traditional metal, alloys, and exotics alike. As long as a part is ductile it can be metal spun and even high-strength alloys are workable and machinable. 


The only difficulty in working with special alloys is narrowing down and making decisions about the endless possibilities of parts that can be manufactured.

What Kind of Alloys?

To reiterate, alloys are not only feasible to work with, they are actually highly malleable and form very efficiently. This includes high-strength materials as well as high-temperature and other special alloys, some of which include:

  • Hastelloy® – Considered an exotic metal, Hastelloy® is used when a project needs extra strength but also must be corrosion-resistant. Hastelloy® is a nickel alloy that can also include chromium, iron, copper, cobalt, and manganese. There are almost two dozen different types of Hastelloy® alloys and some of the properties can exceed that of stainless steel in corrosive environments. Despite being a high-performance, 'super' alloy, Hastelloy® forms well and responds to metal spinning, creating durable, rigid, resistant parts for use in a wide variety of industries.
  • Inconel® – A nickel alloy containing a large amount of chromium, Inconel® can be difficult to form in other metal fabrication techniques but responds very well to spinning. Inconel® is known as a high-strength steel that is not only extremely durable, but also resistant to corrosion and oxidization. It can be used in aerospace, chemical, and aqueous applications to name a few.

These are just two of the many special alloys that Helander can fabricate using our metal spinning capabilities. To learn more about how we work with a variety of materials, or for specific information on your project needs, feel free to contact us today 630.268.9292. 


How cost effective is metal spinning? Click here to find out  

Tags: Metal Spinning, Custom Fabrication, Hastelloy, Special Alloy, Inconel

Need More Effective Lighting? Consider Metal Spun Light Reflectors

Posted by Samuel Ibrahim, Jr. on Thu, Jul 09, 2015


Light reflectors are used by architectural and commercial lighting professionals to augment artificial light. Since people obtain the majority of their information through their sense of sight, light reflectors are always in high demand; these products can provide appropriate lighting, which helps people process visual information faster and with greater clarity.

Proper lighting establishes your ideal ambiance; light reflectors aid in controlling the amount and intensity of light in specific rooms or areas. To achieve desired consumer results, light reflectors are often manufactured through metal spinning—a specialized metalworking process known for its abundant benefits, including extreme customization, low-tooling cost, and quality finished products.

Spun metal light reflectors can be custom engineered to enhance any lighting set up; these products can have either seamless or riveted/welded constructions, and are available in diverse sizes, shapes, materials, and finishes.

With the use of metal spinning, companies can choose between cylindrical, spherical, or hemispherical products made from any metal material—these include brass, copper, stainless steel, and aluminum (the most common material for light reflectors).

The metal spinning process is well-suited for any production volume, from prototype to high volume, and the speed of the process allows for timelier delivery of higher-quality products.

Click here to download our Metal Spinning and Hydroforming eBook, or click the button below.

Learn More About  Metal Spinning and Hydroforming

Tags: Metal Spinning, Custom Fabrication, Light Reflectors, Lighting