Machine manufacturers are working to streamline the gear-making process, to deliver a more highly finished gear in fewer steps.
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Until the middle of 2010, first-tier subcontract machinist, JJ Churchill, could produce turbine blades only if they had their fir-tree root-forms preground elsewhere, or if they were subsequently added by another subcontractor. No longer is this the case.
Burrs, sharp edges, and rough surfaces plague even the most precise metal-cutting or forming process. Deburring and finishing can often be treated as the step-child of a manufacturing process, but its importance is growing as tolerances get tighter and precision devices become the norm.
Demand for machining titanium for aerospace applications won’t abate any time soon. It is driving OEMs and the supply chain in the commercial airplane market to find ways to dramatically increase machining output. Whatever date you pick from now until 2030, there’s a sufficient backlog of commercial airliners for both structural and jet engine applications to keep spindles humming around the clock cutting titanium.
The challenge of machining hip replacement implants out of cobalt chrome
When sizing up an application for a milling toolholder, it is necessary to consider the materials being machined, how aggressively metal is going to be removed, and any machining conditions that are likely to present a challenge to tooling security. By now, the pros and cons of hydraulic, mechanical, and heat-assisted shrink-fit systems are well known and results well documented.
Modern manufacturing is rapidly adopting model-based definition (MBD). When employing an MBD strategy, the CAD model becomes more than the nominal to which all parts are measured and inspected against. MBD keeps the all-important digital thread intact—from design to manufacturing to inspection and quality reporting.
“We are developing solutions for power workholding such as hydraulic swing clamps and block clamps, because the real estate on a fixture is so valuable,” says Jason Betz, product specialist for Carr Lane Roemheld (St. Louis). “This pushes the use of smaller workholding components as much as possible because the more parts on the fixture the greater the productivity.”
It’s getting harder to imagine any market that isn’t benefiting from the latest developments in parts manufactured from advanced composites. “Advanced composites will arguably dominate consumer and production products, especially in the near future,” says Bert Erdel, industry consultant and executive technology advisor, Morris Group Inc. (Windsor, CT), “as they have begun to gain wide acceptance in solving energy-related issues.”
The machining challenges for two of the most advanced concepts in cutting tool materials are pretty well known. Cubic boron nitride (CBN) tools of varying designs are being used to cut hardened ferrous metals with or without interrupted cuts, as well as welded and clad metals.