Shims might be some of the smallest components on an aircraft, but that does not diminish their significance. These thin parts are essential in filling gaps and spaces in a plane’s structure by aligning mating components and reducing wear and tear. As a result, structural shims improve aircraft parts’ functionality, tolerance requirements, and life cycle.
While manufacturers make shims from a variety of stock materials, aerospace shims are typically manufactured from carbon and stainless steel, copper, brass, titanium, and other metals. These materials are light yet strong enough to adhere to industry regulations that guarantee safety in aerospace equipment.
At Trinity Brand Industries, Inc., we utilize precision computer numerical control (CNC) machining, wire electrical discharge machining (EDM), waterjet cutting, and other fabrication processes and offer quality shim stock for producing shims that the aerospace industry can trust for critical applications.
For this industry, quality shim stock is essential for manufacturing high-performance parts that will not fail. The aerospace industry has stringent standards that guide the type of shim stock used in aircraft manufacture as well as regulations for precision components. Aircraft shims mainly function as washers, seals, and vibration and motor mounts. They have common applications in aircraft turbines, auxiliary power units, landing gear, hydraulic systems, pilot control assemblies, and other moving parts.
Each part of a plane requires specific shims, so there are many types available. The aerospace industry can use pre-engineered traditional shims for standard assemblies to provide a specific thickness, length, and width. Tapered shims fill gaps on tapering ends to prevent unnecessary movement. Then there are peelable shims, which are thin pieces of metal glued together into flat three-dimensional layers, giving a technician the freedom to peel layers off until achieving the desired thickness. The industry also uses edge bond shims. Partially adjustable, these shims can accommodate machine inaccuracies and fit almost anywhere given their multi-layer construction of metal foils and industry-compliant adhesive.
Regardless of shim type, by compensating for variable gaps in between aerospace parts, shims made from quality shim stock have numerous benefits, including:
- Capabilities for customization. We can customize shim stock, to suit your specific application, offering a variety of alloys, temper, thickness, size, and shape.
- Added strength for aerospace components. Vibrations and part movement can cause friction between rigid components, and shims provide structural strength, flexibility, and precision tolerances that prevent unnecessary part movement.
- Improved life span for equipment. Using shims reduces wear on aerospace equipment by minimizing friction, which enhances the longevity of these components.
Given the harsh temperature and pressure conditions that the industry subjects its equipment to, aerospace shims must be able to withstand degradation. The material composition of these shims makes a difference in their capabilities for durability, melting point, corrosion resistance, and more. For high shim performance, the aerospace industry commonly makes use of:
- Stainless steel shim stock. Stainless steel shim stock sheets are rugged and robust and can withstand harsh conditions like extreme temperatures. Therefore, they have optimal uses in turbine engines, engine space compensators, and landing gear parts. We offer shim stock in 301, 302, 304, 316, 430, 17-4, and 17-7 stainless steel.
- Carbon steel shim stock. The composition of these shims provides strength and corrosion resistance, making them ideal in hydraulic fluid systems and auxiliary power units.
- Brass shim stock. These strong shims hold up well against saline. They are mainly fitted into hydraulic systems and landing gear.
- Titanium shim stock. Titanium shims are particularly durable and lightweight, adding strength to auxiliary power units, control units, and pilot control assemblies.
Shims are essential components in aircraft manufacturing to enhance precision and improve functionality, efficiency, and longevity. TBI has over three decades of experience in manufacturing customized and stock shims in various material options, including difficult-to-find materials. Our USA-made products are fully traceable and include a material test report (MTR) to ensure high quality.