Automation development in the aerospace industry has quickened its pace, with the aviation and defense industries attempting to further automate manufacturing processes to meet growing OEM order backlogs and critical aerospace-defense program deadlines.
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Today’s products require high finishes, burr-free edges, freedom from contamination, and often close tolerances. Electropolishing provides all of those conditions and more in a matter of seconds for many metal parts. It is a process that has been used for more than a hundred years. It is widely known and the science is widely discussed, but its ability to run job shop lots and high-precision high-volume parts in the same equipment makes it a bit unique.
Advanced simulation, new toolpath techniques aid programming of highly complex machinery. CAD/CAM software developers continue to refine simulation capabilities and toolpath techniques that enable programming highly complex equipment including multiaxis and multitasking machine tools.
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.
All fixtures are designed to hold a workpiece in position firmly and accurately during a manufacturing process.
While EDMs offer the benefits of holding tight tolerances, working on nearly any metal, and being well suited for delicate or fragile parts, knowledgeable operators for the machines are increasingly hard to find and robots can’t always fill the gap. Automated processes in the machines, newer designs and features of Industry 4.0 are helping to solve the problem.
Meeting the needs of the evolving digital manufacturing initiative, Open Mind Technologies (Needham, MA) has recently partnered with Heidenhain TNC controls (Schaumburg, IL) to provide exclusive first use of their new NC code-based machining simulation solution hyperMILL Virtual Machining.
Buffalo, NY – Niagara Gear, a division of Gear Motions, Inc., recently completed the installation of its first machining cell. The in-house machining capabilities were added to reduce lead-time and provide more flexibility and control to meet customer delivery requirements.
Q&A with Ben Mund, Senior Market Analyst, CNC Software Inc.
As additive manufacturing emerges from a long infancy, the industry is grappling with a key challenge: A file format and design tools from the 20th century are being asked to do 21st century jobs.