After giant aerospace companies duke it out for lucrative defense and commercial airline contracts, the subcontracting games begin. Opportunities can be plentiful, but shops in unfamiliar territory can get themselves into trouble when bidding on projects. Machine shops new to aerospace machining should be aware of the risks, not just the rewards.
Machining aerospace parts is different than any other industry because security is paramount. Shops need to be prepared for original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to drive hard negotiations and to not underbid on a contract. And while the opportunities are there, OEMs are anything but forgiving and make the highest demands for quality and precision. If suppliers are not aware of the complexities of aerospace machining, they can be stuck in a contract they can’t get out of and lose money every time they machine a part.
Anyone looking at processing complete components may want to do a little more homework to fully understand the OEM’s requirements before they get started. With roughing and semi-finishing, rules are more relaxed as there are fewer requirements for materials and components. However, suppliers who will do finishing of critical components will face strict requirements as process security and quality are of utmost importance.
The next step is to plan exactly how to adhere to the process control rules provided by the OEM. Shops should expect to know how to handle materials with lower machinability, reduced tool life, and finish requirements on critical features. Before signing a contract, suppliers need to fully understand the materials they are machining, the industry-specific tooling, and how to apply the right techniques for optimal machining.
Materials – For their first experiences machining ISO S materials, heat resistant super alloys (HRSAs), and titanium, suppliers need to understand tooling limitations. HRSA materials are split into three groups: Nickel-based, iron-based, and cobalt-based alloys.
Nickel-based materials such as Inconel 718 and Waspaloy are primarily used for aero components. They can be annealed, solution heat treated, aged, rolled, forged, or cast. These materials have a higher dynamic shear strength which means they require higher cutting forces and have poor thermal conductivity where the heat from the cut goes into the tooling rather than the chip. They are also prone to work hardening which leads to higher notch wear tendencies.
Shops must also be aware of the composition of the material they are machining. Practices that operators can get away with when machining steel are not possible for HRSAs or titanium. For example, a solid carbide end mill toolpath, not optimized for Inconel 718, could result in catastrophic tool failure and a scrap forging, resulting in expensive loss of material and production time.
With new materials being constantly developed, shops must know how to manage and adjust to them. The structure of the design of powder-based nickel materials will always be a challenge because they are more abrasive and harder to machine. To handle this abrasiveness and subsequent lower tool life, shops need to establish predetermined tool changes to avoid undesirable blend points so that the component design is not jeopardized.
With heat buildup, there is potential for work hardening, stress fractures or white layers that can develop when heat or stress is transferred to the material, creating a weak spot.
Engineered tooling – Select only tools engineered for the materials being machined. Shops should not be afraid to try ceramics for nickel-based materials for roughing applications. For those suppliers not experienced with these tools, it can be intimidating considering that the cutting speed in carbide is only from 60 surface feet per minute (sfm) to 120sfm and with ceramics, shops can run 900sfm to 1,200sfm for turning and upwards of 3,000sfm for milling.
The value in ceramics is the material removal rate (MRR), which is substantially higher when roughing than using carbide. Although the productivity gains are greater, ceramics have shorter tool lives than carbide. In some materials, ceramic inserts may last only around 4 to 6 minutes. It should also be noted that with ceramics, there is a need for more redundancy. This takes some adjustment for shops that are not used to having three or four back-to-back tool changes.
Techniques – Proper machining techniques provide process security that is necessary to meet strict OEM requirements. Shops working with aerospace components should know about trochoidal and high-speed machining techniques which allow for low radial engagement and higher feed rates. Following process control rules supplied by the OEM, suppliers need to keep constant tool engagement in their process with no potential stress points, chatter, or vibration. Continuous runs are critical to the integrity and design of components, so security and performance are not compromised.
Today’s computer aided manufacturing (CAM) software providers offer standard functions in their packages to support some of these techniques. Shops should capitalize on CAM functionality with optimized speeds, feeds, and tooling to enhance their processes for critical components.
Suppliers should take advantage of the plentiful subcontracts available in the aerospace industry, but those new to aero machining need to fully understand OEM requirements so they don’t lose their shirts. Knowing what to expect with difficult-to-machine aerospace materials, industry-specific tooling, and how to apply the right techniques for optimal machining will lead to long-term success.
About the author: William Durow, manager of Sandvik Coromant's the Global Engineering Project Office can be reached at 201.475.5302 or email@example.com.
November 2018 Taiwan International Machine Tool Show (TMTS) to highlight island nation’s capabilities in aerospace machining.
With machine tool sales increasing, especially to targeted aerospace and automotive customers, Taiwan’s machine tool makers are eager to gain more attention for their systems on a global stage. Following a big presence at Hannover Messe in Germany in April, and with several exhibitors expected to display in Chicago from Sept. 10-15, 2018, at IMTS 2018 – The International Manufacturing Technology Show, tool builders are hoping to draw even more international attention to the Taiwan International Machine Tool Show – TMTS2018, set for Nov. 7-11, 2018 in Taichung.
“TMTS will hold a series of purchasing conferences during the show to provide a communication platform for exhibitors and buyers,” says Elisa Li, executive secretary general of TMTS2018 organizer the Taiwan Machine Tool & Accessory Builders’ Association (TMBA). “The number of overseas visitors continues to increase and further raise the exposure rate [for the show held on even-numbered years]. According to the 2016 after-show report, more than 95% of exhibitors were satisfied with the effects of TMTS, and 99% of them considered participating in TMTS2018.”
The TMBA recently invited editors from several international manufacturing publications to tour Taichung manufacturers prior to TMTS2018. With 90% of the island nation’s tool builders concentrated within a 40-mile radius of Taichung, manufacturers say the tooling cluster offers huge advantages.
Brad Wang, marketing director for Ching Hung Machinery & Electric Industrial Co. Ltd. (CHMER), calls Taichung “the supermarket of the machinery industry. Any component or accessory we need, there’s a supplier within a few kilometers that can supply it to us.”
CHMER and several other Taiwanese toolmakers have targeted aerospace and automotive sectors for future growth, based on the global backlog of commercial aircraft and steady numbers for car sales.
Lynn Yen, business planning officer for Asia Pacific Elite Corp., says her company has developed large machining centers for aluminum, titanium, and carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) components to expand its work with aerospace suppliers. Several of those systems will be on display at TMTS2018.
“We had a lot of success recently with suppliers to Boeing and Airbus,” Yen says. “The growth of the aero engine business has been important to us.”
In 2016, several aerospace suppliers, universities, and machine tool companies created the A-Team 4.0, targeting aerospace expansion in Taiwan through Industry 4.0 connectivity initiatives. APEC and its parent company Tongtai are members, as are FFG, YCM, Hartford, and Chevalier. Chevalier Sales Manager Brian Chen says Taiwanese tool companies need to offer the same quality of tool monitoring, unattended operation, and predictive maintenance systems as their Japanese and European competitors, so his company and others are investing heavily in control systems.
“Customers are demanding high levels of connectivity. Everyone wants to monitor production from a phone or a tablet,” Chen says.
TMBA’s Li says her organization’s members are eager to show off the sophistication of their equipment and control systems. Based on 2016’s figures and the growth of the industry since then, the TMBA expects members to book $400 million in equipment sales at the show.
About the author: Robert Schoenberger is an editor at AM&D and can be reached at 216.393.0271 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The U.S. is Taiwan’s second-largest export market (12%), following China (33%). Taiwan is the No. 3 metal-cutting machine exporter to the U.S. market (10%), behind Japan (40%) and Germany (17%), based on statistics from the U.S. International Trade Commission (www.usitc.gov).
During the first three months of 2018, metal-cutting machines made up 82% of Taiwan’s tool exports with metal-forming machines making up the balance. Machining centers and lathes account for more than half of the country’s machinery exports, according to the Taiwan Machine Tool & Accessory Builders Association (www.tmba.org.tw/en/).
Raytheon to help develop drone-testing airspace corridor; Airbus Aerial, DroneBase partner for data services; AACUS delivers cargo to US Marines.
Boeing subsidiary Insitu’s ScanEagle3 medium-sized unmanned aerial system (UAS) for commercial customers has global exportability, as the U.S. Department of State says it is not covered by U.S. International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR).
ScanEagle3 offers more payload capacity than its predecessor and is compatible with existing components such as INEXA Control, ICOMC2 ground control station software, and Insitu’s launch and recovery equipment.
Other enhancements include next-generation avionics, updated propulsion, and the same autopilot as RQ-21A Blackjack. ScanEagle3 is designed for pursuing FAA type certification in the U.S. National Airspace System (NAS). www.insitu.com
The Northeast UAS Airspace Integration Research Alliance is partnering with Raytheon to develop an airspace corridor in New York state to test advanced unmanned aircraft. Raytheon’s Intelligence, Information, and Services business will help plan, design, build, and support the state’s next-generation air traffic management system to safely test and manage drones.
The corridor will extend 50 miles (80km) west from Griffiss International Airport, one of seven Federal Aviation Administration-approved unmanned aircraft systems test sites in the U.S. Users can test drones and air traffic management technologies in real-world settings, generating data that will inform industry and regulators, advancing commercial use of drones.
Raytheon’s contribution will likely include its low-power, 1m2 active electronically scanned array (AESA) software-defined radar unit. Networked, the radar units can cover and control the low-altitude flights of smaller aircraft, a capability not possible with large radar systems. www.nuairalliance.org; www.raytheon.com; www.uascentral.com
Atlanta, Georgia-based aerial services business Airbus Aerial and Los Angles, California, drone operations company DroneBase are partnering to deliver multi-source aerial imagery and data from a single provider.
The partnership leverages Airbus Aerial’s investment in the automation of satellite, manned aviation, and drone data capture and analysis with DroneBase’s global network of professional drone pilots. Customers can single-source data covering one square meter to thousands of kilometers from drones, manned aircraft, or satellites to formulate a response to natural disasters or manage infrastructure. www.airbusaerial.com; www.dronebase.com
Boeing Co. Aurora Flight Sciences’ Autonomous Aerial Cargo Utility System (AACUS) achieved a milestone by delivering cargo to U.S. Marines at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, Twentynine Palms, California.
The AACUS UH-1H helicopter’s autonomous flight transported 520 lb of water, gasoline, meals, ready-to-eat (MREs), replacement communications gear, and a packed cooler to demonstrate critical logistics support to Marines in need.
Developed under Office of Naval Research’s (ONR) Innovative Naval Prototype program, the AACUS helicopter flies autonomously, using onboard sensors, advanced computers, and intelligent algorithms to plan its trajectory and select landing sites in unmapped and hazardous environments.
The American Helicopter Society (AHS) recently selected Aurora’s AACUS program for its Howard Hughes Award in recognition of an outstanding improvement in fundamental helicopter technology. www.aurora.aero; www.vtol.org
Feeds and speeds app; Dispensing robot with larger work area; Reusable machining jaws; Design guide; Servo drive system; Grinding machine series; Visual tool setter line; Clamping shaft collars, couplings.
The BK-1 mini Presto Black finishing line is a low-cost alternative for large-scale finishing of iron and steel. Suitable for small production operations requiring corrosion resistance and galling protection, it processes parts from machine components to metal stampings.
The 15-minute process eliminates hot-oxide hazards by operating at room temperature. It provides high corrosion resistance tested for up to 800 hours of humidity exposure when sealed with an appropriate rust preventive.
The Machining Central app scans Widia product barcode or searches the tool’s corresponding order number or ANSI or ISO catalog number, automatically generating product information and availability, along with feeds and speeds.
Featured in a compact and space-saving benchtop, the RP series robots have a 36" x 20" work area for adhesive and other fluid-dispensing applications, as well as assembly using UV curing for mounting, tooling, and fixturing.
The series includes machine-tool quality construction with pre-loaded leadscrews, ball slides, and brushless servomotors on each axis, delivering accuracy and high payload capacity.
The large ground machine-bed provides a stable foundation for fixturing and tooling, allowing parts to remain stationary.
DoveLock master jaws, a replacement of standard cap screwjaws, create quick-change capability. Once installed into the vise, they perform as a receiver for the replaceable jaws.
Designed for repeatable use, they feature reusable, machinable jaws, manufactured from 6061 aluminum or 4140 pre-hard steel, and can be flipped 180° to accommodate a second part profile for an additional setup.
The workstop on the side of the jaw provides quick and repeatable location of up to 0.001" without measuring, ensuring high repeatability even after the jaws have been stored.
The Flexible Printed Circuits Design Guide highlights special processes including the ability to selectively plate a single circuit with two different finishes, contoured circuits with variable metal thickness, semi-additive and subtractive techniques to manufacture trace patterns, BGA pad arrays, and open window or cantilevered contact leads. Surface mount technology (SMT) for component assembly is for prototypes and full production runs.
Simotics S-1FG1 servo-geared motors, designed for use with the Sinamics S120 drive system, extend the line of servo applications and are components of totally integrated automation (TIA), reducing engineering time and costs. Electronic rating plates and motors are connected via the Drive-Cliq system interface. The high-performance single and coordinated multi-axis drives with servo control enable increased line productivity and flexibility.
The Sinamics S120 drive system is available in block size and book size hardware types for use with servo-geared motors. The power units or motor modules in book size format have been redesigned in the 3–30A range.
The small diameter of the plug-on pinion in the motor shaft allows a high transmission ratio in the first gear stage, so a two-stage gearbox can be used for many applications.
Consisting of the Numerika series, Kargo series, and Flexa series, the Zema corundum line offers solutions for conventional grinding. The machines grind gears, turbochargers, cardan shafts, or spray nozzles.
A machine bed, hydrostatic guides, and grinding spindles mounted on rolling or hydrostatic bearings come standard.
Designed for integration into production lines, the machines offer automation while workpiece families are stored in the control system for quick changeover from one workpiece to another.
TS WF45 and WF85 wide-field versions have been added to the MIDA VTS visual tool setter family, providing non-contact measuring and verification of double-sided, larger diameter tools. The tools perform profile and surface integrity inspection of the entire tool front to back, identifying any minor faults using LED technology.
Wide field versions process tools with diameters from 40µm to 40mm, or 2.9mm diameter for double-sided measurements, while achieving resolution of 0.4µm and repeatability of 0.8µm. Measurements are performed on tool diameters of up to 5mm in one positioning cycle. Tool length, static or dynamic tool diameter, cutting edge total indicator reading (TIR) are measured with compensating for machine axis thermal drift. Tool software stores information so that tool integrity can be checked in seconds.
A line of Accu-Clamp shaft collars, mounting collars, and sleeve couplings provide accurate working surfaces and mar-free clamping.
Collars feature an integral clamp on one side while leaving the other flat and perpendicular within 0.001" total indicated runout (TIR), permitting mounting next to precision bearings, sprockets, and gears. For mounting components, collars have a centering hub with pre-drilled and tapped holes on the flat side and flange.
Shaft collars are made from aluminum, steel, and stainless steel in 0.5" to 2.0" ID sizes. A precision one-piece sleeve coupling – with a rigid center clamp section and the Accu-Clamp feature at each end – offers distortion-free coupling with a precise fit and shaft-to-shaft concentricity within 0.001" TIR.
Aerospace Manufacturing and Design welcomes all aircraft enthusiasts to join the fun and NAME THAT PLANE! Each issue, a new aircraft will be featured. Given a photo and a clue box, readers are encouraged to guess what plane is being described and submit their answers to www.AerospaceManufacturingAndDesign.com/Form/NameThatPlane.
How long have you been in the aerospace business? I have been a manufacturing engineer in the aerospace business for more than 35 years.
How did you become interested in aircraft? Over the years – making components for Boeing, Sikorsky, NASA, and other aerospace companies – you naturally get interested in aviation. My interest in aviation peaked five years ago as I became a private pilot and now own a Piper Warrior with a group of other pilots.
To enter the contest, visit www.AerospaceManufacturingAndDesign.com/Form/NameThatPlane and fill out the provided entry form. Only completed forms will qualify. A full set of rules is provided.
The entry deadline for this issue’s contest is June 29, 2018. Winners will be announced in the Aug/Sept 2018 issue.
CNC Lathe Machining, CNC Milling Machining, Custom Service - Microvision,https://www.micprecision.com/