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.
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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.
Today, the productivity needed to be globally competitive requires ever increasing metal-removal rates during operations such as roughing and high-speed slotting. Process reliability is paramount, especially when working with difficult-to-machine materials.
“Five years ago, our fit and finish was below average,” said Dr. Raj Kawlra, director of dimensional strategy and management of Chrysler Group (Auburn Hills, MI). “To be the future world-leaders, we knew that we had to focus on all aspects of quality … vehicles that look good, feel good, sound good, and are reliable.”
It’s been almost two decades since the C5 Corvette hit the streets with its groundbreaking chassis built around hydroformed steel bumper-to-bumper frame rails. The technology gave engineers a chance to create components that were both lighter and stiffer than traditional stamped and welded assemblies.
Methods Machine Tools Inc. (Sudbury, MA) announced two key management appointments: President Jerry Rex was named president and chief executive officer, and Dale Hedberg was promoted to vice president of operations.
US machine shops are potentially underutilizing the machinability of brass by as much as 85 percent in their part processing operations, reports a recent study from the Copper Development Association Inc. (McLean, VA).
Kennametal Inc. (Pittsburgh) announced June 29 that its board of directors has appointed Christopher (Chris) Rossi as president and CEO and has named him a director. Rossi succeeds Ron De Feo, whom the board has appointed executive chairman. Both appointments are effective August 1.
VMCs have had a productive past, present and the future looks promising
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.