The lines are beginning to blur as tooling companies offer automated features.
In recent years, there is a clear industry trend blurring the lines between an automated system and a tool. The resulting mechatronic advanced manufacturing systems drive down the costs and risks of aerostructure manufacturing and assembly.
In the world of aerospace, tooling has a range of meanings, from a drill bit to a layup mold. For purposes of this discussion, tooling predominantly refers to assembly jigs that are used to ensure the precise assembly of aerostructures. An automated system refers predominantly to drilling, countersinking, fastening, and sealant applications, as well as the holding fixtures that enable automation.
In years past, suppliers were distinct. Tooling suppliers provided assembly jigs that ensured repeatability and accuracy, but offered no intelligence or automation. Automation providers supplied one machine designed to do one job.
A multi-disciplinary field of engineering that includes elements from traditional engineering disciplines including mechanical, electrical, systems, and controls.
For example, a customized wing fastening cell was engineered for each program, and when the program was complete, the machine was obsolete. Only high-rate, long-term programs could justify the cost of an automated system and the quality, health, and safety benefits that came with it. Purchasing channels were distinct, with separate procurement teams and budgets for recurring and non-recurring expenses. The suppliers had limited communication throughout the design and build process. Everything came together – or didn’t – for the first time on the factory floor.
In recent years, programs have automated the bulk of the assembly work, drilling, fastener insertion, and full fastening. In addition to driving out recurring costs, this approach reduces non-recurring costs by eliminating some of the fixturing and tooling required in manual operations. As automation becomes more pervasive, tooling is becoming an integral part of the automation system and, in some cases, the line is completely blurred as tooling and automation systems are blended into a common work center.
Another trend is towards light, flexible automation, which reduces capital expenditure, speeds return on investment (ROI), and shortens the payback period. Automated drilling and fastening continues to become smaller and cheaper due to rapid technological advancements. Today, multi-purpose end effectors (tools at the end of a robotic arm) sit directly on the assembly jig or holding fixture to access the part and augment the work of skilled operators.
Light, flexible automation is often less capital-intensive because installation costs are minimized and end effectors can be added as needed. It is scalable with rate increases, ensuring that non-recurring costs are commensurate with production rates. In some cases, one multi-purpose end effector can be moved from tool to tool, creating the equivalent of several machines from one drill spindle. Manufacturers can then increase to one end effector per jig (or more), as increasing rates justify an increasing investment. This interchangeability has been common in automotive applications for decades and is now finding a place in aerospace because investment can be scaled along with production rates. Because they are no longer custom-built, interchangeable end effectors can be repurposed for another part or program.
Robust integration is imperative to reducing risk because it ensures combined tooling and automation systems work seamlessly. The integrator must bring together expertise in process knowledge, tooling, and automation to provide customers with a turnkey process.
Ray Kauffmann, vice president of Ascent Integration’s U.S. operations, says, “With advanced manufacturing systems, it is not enough for a supplier to represent automation only or tooling only. They must be proficient in all the manufacturing systems infrastructure disciplines, including access, conveyance, machinery, and integration.”
The role of the integrator includes the enabling tools, equipment, and processes to handle, locate, and support assembly operations that yield a conforming product, ready for shipment, that supports the production-rate commitment. Aerospace OEMs, Tier 1, and Tier 2 aerostructure manufacturers expect broader skills and more support in implementing assembly lines, and it is especially critical when blending tooling and automation.
Multiple drill spindles can be co-located on a machine to create more throughput.
In the real world, this presents a challenge because tooling and automation are historically purchased separately and are still often viewed separately. Systems are conceived and funded with two channels in mind. Manufacturers historically play the integrator role and, left to make everything work together, assume all of the risk. When elements don’t work together, the manufacturer can find itself in a technical standoff between the engineering teams of disparate suppliers who have not been given ample opportunity to (or choose not to) collaborate.
The interface between tooling and automation can lead to implementation delays as two philosophies are merged. Once the problems are identified, expensive change orders might be incurred to make the various elements work together. If managed separately, costs and changes are the manufacturer’s responsibility, not the suppliers.
Instead of developing and specifying detailed solutions, many manufacturers are acting as smart customers: define the performance targets – such as production rate or cycle time – and let sophisticated suppliers offer innovative solutions. The integration team defines the scope, executes, and manages suppliers and partners to deliver a turnkey solution.
Collaboration and transparency between tooling and automation allows gaps to be bridged early, which minimizes changes throughout the process and reduces the economic impact of bringing the systems together. According to Paul Walsh, president & COO of Ascent Tooling Group, this harmonization begins in the design phase, continues through manufacturing, and includes feeding back learning through the manufacturing and installation process to improve future designs.
“We design better because we manufacture. We manufacture better because we design,” Walsh says.
At the time of installation, the integrator has minimized uncertainty that the elements will not fit together but, in case they do not, the integrator – not the manufacturer – is responsible for the expense of reconciling them. An integrator further supports the full product lifecycle, including documentation, training, and ongoing service and support.
Overseeing tooling and automation often leads to more user friendly control systems and an improved human machine interface (HMI), which is easier for production teams to adopt, speeding implementation and ROI.
In 2015, Ascent Integration & Automation Group was hired to retrofit the wing assembly line of a large business jet. Ascent’s global team of project engineers was able to minimize the investment and halve the lead time by building 5-axis automation around the existing tooling.
Ascent developed an arc-frame system to automate spar drilling, which required near-complete-circumferential access for the end effecter, coupled with a long X-axis travel. Manual drilling of the spars required approximately 30 tool pairs, consisting of a positional fixture and a drill template. The positional tooling has become the machine structure, making it hard to draw a line where the tooling ends and the machine begins. The drill templates were eliminated, along with the associated handling and storage costs.
Ascent also automated drilling and countersinking of the metallic wing along the outer mold line (OML), where it was common to the substructure. The existing assembly jig was retrofitted with a square-frame driller capable of traversing the entire length of the wing. In essence, the square-frame driller is the same as the arc-frame driller, in that the same interchangeable components have been applied to a new geometry. The connections for the end effectors are standard, as are the Brown Aerospace end effectors, which can be moved between the drillers to meet production targets or make up for delays.
The customer noted that cycle time was reduced by more than would be expected in a typical automated system. When a part must be moved from an assembly jig to a machine, such as a gantry or even a robotic system, this transfer required a large amount of cycle time to perform non value-added work. The Ascent solution eliminated this step and the customer reported a reduction of 30 to 180 minutes per cycle, depending on the part’s size and weight, based solely on not transferring out of the tool to a separate machine.
Ascent’s customer also noted an increase in accuracy. Unlike a typical CNC-and-gantry system, the vision system of the Brown Aerospace end effectors resyncs the location on the part at intervals. This eliminates accumulation of tolerances along the X-axis. Resyncing also makes it possible to use existing tools because the machine is empowered by the vision system, not reliant on the precision of the tool. After the retrofit, drilling along the OML was repeatable to 0.004" (0.10mm) and accurate to 0.009" (0.23mm).
Ascent Aerospace CEO Brian Williams observes, “The advanced manufacturing systems Ascent has delivered have dramatically improved build efficiencies while minimizing cost and risk. Our customers return to us to help support rate increases for existing airplanes, as well as for the introduction of new airplanes and factories. We are preparing for an industry-wide convergence of tooling with automation. To remain in the forefront and bolster our automation capabilities, we recently added Gemcor, for automated riveting, to our portfolio of businesses.”
About the author: Jay Wakenshaw is CCO at Ascent Aerospace. He can be reached at email@example.com or 1.877.936.4906 .
Ascent developed a lateral panel fuselage drilling and assembly system (pictured above) in support of a large commercial transport; several have been delivered to date. Fuselage panels are assembled in a jig built by Global Tooling Systems, also an Ascent Aerospace company. The curved-rail frame with connections for the end effectors is mounted on top of an automatically guided vehicle, which moves 400ft (122m) along several fuselage panels. Each end effector drills, applies sealant, and inserts fasteners in composite-composite and composite-aluminum stacks to fasten the composite fuselage skin to the door supports, stringers, longerons, and frames.
For a small or low-rate line, it is unlikely that ROI calculations favor traditional automated systems. But a small business jet wing assembly line demonstrated that applying light, flexible automation to existing assembly tooling is economical for even a low-rate line. Ascent retrofitted existing assembly jigs with automated drilling and countersinking, much like in the large business jet case study. Post-installation, spare drilling capacity was applied to parts of the wing that were not originally included in the specifications. At a rate of only six wing-pairs per month, the customer realized a payback period of only 1.3 years.
GIE Media’s Today’s Technology Center (Booth #W-20) will showcase the latest technology in the aerospace, medical, motor vehicle, and energy industries at IMTS 2016. Visitors can get a close look at leading-edge innovations from manufacturing’s four hottest markets brought to you by Today’s Medical Developments, Today’s Motor Vehicles, Aerospace Manufacturing and Design, and Today’s Energy Solutions.
The Airbus Helicopter’s H130 incorporates state-of-the-art technologies, materials, systems, and avionics. Its Turbomeca Arriel 2D turbine engine offers 10% more average power and lower fuel consumption. It is operated by a next-generation, dual-channel full automatic digital engine control (FADEC) system. Built at Airbus Helicopters’ assembly and manufacturing sites in Texas and Alabama, the H130’s main and tail rotor systems incorporate technologies for performance, ruggedness, reliability, and safety. The Airbus Helicopters’ signature Fenestron shrouded tail rotor design reduces vulnerability to impact damage, enhances safety for ground personnel, and contributes to the H130’s low external sound level. Its Starflex main rotor head and impact-resistant composite material blades also help make it the quietest helicopter in its category.
The 7-passenger interior of the H130 can be customized for many requirements, making it popular with law enforcement agencies, emergency medical services, tourist flight operators, and business aviation.
The size of a BMW 7-Series sedan, yet lighter than the 5-Series, Cadillac’s new flagship is a demonstration of modern lightweighting technology. A showcase for multi-material design, the CT6 uses die-cast, extruded, and sheet-formed aluminum to shave weight out of every exterior system. Marrying those components with advanced high-strength steel forced the development of new laser-welding technologies (http://goo.gl/wybCGP).
The result – about 220 lb less weight than similarly sized luxury cars, and a large luxury sedan that can get more than 30mpg in some configurations. A plug-in hybrid version is due in late 2016, offering increases to fuel economy and power.
Pushing the medical industry toward growth, to support an aging population, are the latest medical tools and devices. Today’s Technical Center will display the industry’s most advanced precision instruments that underpin technology innovation in this sector. Explore the materials and tools used to optimally manufacture these medical devices and learn what elements are shifting in the medical industry to adapt to a world of connected devices. Knee, hip, and shoulder implants will be featured in addition to stents, pacemakers, defibrillators, bone screws, plates, and other durable equipment.
Keeping the muscle car cred of the Chevrolet Camaro intact when turning the car into a plug-in hybrid for the U.S. Department of Energy’s EcoCar challenge is no easy task, but the students on The Ohio State University’s EcoCAR 3 team say they’re up to the task. Winners of EcoCAR 2, the team has added a full electric drive system to the Camaro and a belt-alternator starter to give it start-stop capabilities when the engine is running.
And they’ve still managed to keep 0 to 60mph acceleration to less than 5.6 seconds.
In addition to reworking the car’s engine, transmission, and electrical system, students have reworked its suspension and are swapping wheels and other components.
Sign up for the Miles for Manufacturing (M4M) 5K Run/Walk, returning to IMTS on Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2016 at 7:00 a.m. M4M, which debuted at IMTS 2014, is an excellent opportunity to get moving while benefiting manufacturing education! The recipient schools prepare young men and women for success in life-long learning and work by providing them with customized programs in selected career pathways based on their interests, offering programs in CNC machining, CAD, and welding, along with courses in automotive repair and computer design.
Improving aircraft availability with alternative sealants.
Aircraft design and construction demands careful selection of the right materials to meet performance and safety requirements while optimizing the combination of material characteristics and properties. The choices engineers make have a significant impact on not only the functionality of the airframe, but also the maintainability and operational performance of an aircraft throughout its service life.
A key priority of the aircraft operator is aircraft availability. To meet this priority, maintainers work to maximize the number of aircraft available to meet the scheduled operational requirement, and the aircraft not included in the operational requirement are available for unscheduled, scheduled, or preventive maintenance or servicing.
A key determinant of aircraft availability is the amount of time spent maintaining the aircraft, typically in the form of inspection, servicing, or repair, which may entail the removal and replacement of components. While many maintenance actions might be performed from the interiors of larger aircraft, a wide range of tasks require opening or removal of exterior access panels (particularly on fighter aircraft), which are frequently sealed using form-in-place (FIP) seals. FIP seals are typically created using wet sealants, and removing panels installed with them usually involves scraping out sealant and prying up the panel, frequently damaging the seal and possibly the panel.
Operational needs frequently conflict with the time required to repair or replace a damaged FIP seal, forcing a compromised seal to be left in place until the next major maintenance event, which might be accomplished at a significantly later date. As a result, components within a panel cavity with a damaged FIP seal are at risk for damage from water or fluid intrusion. Additionally, improperly formed FIP seals may have dry spots from sealant squeeze-out during initial application, with panel-to-structure contact contributing to damaged protective coatings that may lead to corrosion. Without the protective barrier of a FIP seal, surfaces in contact are particularly susceptible to damage from vibration- induced fretting, which can be significant, especially on helicopters. Fretting tangibly downgrades the surface layer quality, producing increased surface roughness and micropits, which reduces the fatigue strength of the components. Ultimately, repairing corrosion damage will require downtime, labor, and material.
Like any maintenance task, the installation and repair of FIP seals have a direct impact on aircraft availability. The time to prepare, mask, mix, apply, and clean up is lengthened further by the cure time, which may vary widely due to temperature and humidity. Finally, there is the opportunity cost of lost work that the maintainer could otherwise have accomplished instead of the FIP seal work.
The most commonly used material for FIP seals is a two-part polysulfide sealant (such as B1/2, B2, etc.), which is frequently used in applications such as structural assemblies requiring a fay surface seal.
Polysulfide is an effective sealant to conform to irregular surfaces with strong adhesion. Although applying a release agent to the mating surface enables polysulfide to be used in creating a FIP seal, removal of panels for the first time may still be difficult and result in a damaged seal from digging out sealant and prying up the panel. In some cases, damage to the panel, structure, or protective coatings may also occur during panel removal.
Despite the effectiveness of polysulfide sealants, their handling and working properties beg for alternatives that minimize the tradeoffs. Fortunately, there are other choices available, including sealant tapes. One such product is W. L. Gore and Associates’ SKYFLEX™ Aerospace Materials. SKYFLEX tapes and die-cut gaskets are made from pure expanded polytetrafluoroethylene, or ePTFE, based on the same material used in Teflon.
ePTFE has a variety of characteristics that make it suitable for aerospace sealant applications:
Several products on the market use variations of PTFE, but SKYFLEX remains unique in its formulation and properties. Unlike other tape sealants using PTFE as a layer or a coating, it is pure PTFE throughout.
Gore’s engineering of ePTFE ensures a combination of wear characteristics to optimize tensile strength and tear propagation resistance throughout the wear cycle while maintaining sealing properties for multiple panel remove/install cycles. Throughout the service life of a SKYFLEX seal, its compression seal qualities do not change. It will not squeeze out, dry out, or degrade due to exposure to aviation fluids, provided the appropriate variant is applied.
There are several variants of ribbed/flat ePTFE tapes or die-cut gaskets that are available to address a variety of application requirements:
In addition to its performance as a sealant, ePTFE tape offers:
A SKYFLEX material commonly used as a FIP seal on aircraft such as the F-16 is the ribbed sealant tape. It is available in a wide range of configurations and readily conforms to the application surface with zero cure time or hazardous waste. Once installed, PTFE’s inherently non-stick qualities ensure that access panels are easily removed for inspection, servicing, or repair, enabling quick reinstallation of a fully effective seal. ePTFE tapes and gaskets play a role in corrosion reduction by sealing, isolating, and protecting painted surfaces with a tough, low-friction sealing barrier. The ePTFE seals are more durable and less susceptible to damage than polysulfide-based FIP seals, and are easily repaired.
The diagram shows approved application areas for use of SKYFLEX on the F-16, with blue denoting recommended areas for the 100 and 110 Series (flat and ribbed) tapes, and yellow highlighting the use of 720 Series tape or gaskets in areas with exposure to fuel or other hydrocarbons such as hydraulic fluid.
For environments with more aggressive chemical exposure, Gore has introduced 730 Series tape, which resists hydraulic fluids such as Skydrol with sealing and wear properties similar to those of other SKYFLEX variants.
A time analysis comparing SKYFLEX with polysulfide provides a more analytical assessment of ePTFE tape benefits. To apply polysulfide as a FIP seal, mixing the polysulfide is but one step, along with masking, panel fit work, and application of a release agent to prevent the sealant from adhering to one of the mating surfaces. Following these typical steps for applying polysulfide results in about two hours for a panel remove/install cycle, with the breakdown presented in the table on page 90.
Typical panel installation using polysulfide takes up to 120 minutes for each removal/install cycle, plus 6 hours to 30 hours of cure time.
Installing ePTFE tape for the first time will require the same degree of surface prep, but no masking or mixing. Total prep and initial application time of the ePTFE material is about 65 minutes, with no cure time.
Once installed, the ePTFE seal will significantly shorten cycle time for subsequent panel removals by ensuring easy removal and reinstallation while maintaining full seal integrity.
For a comparison of cure times between B ½ and ePTFE tape, the Technical Order presenting Tack-Free and Fly-Away times is presented above.
Beyond the time benefits, a cost comparison for a sample installation to seal a small panel with a perimeter of approximately 2 linear feet is presented. To put the working stock on the shelf, a user might buy B ½ in either the single use self-contained SemKit® or a pint can, or purchase SKYFLEX in a typical 100-ft roll. Installation of this small panel would require one SemKit® or about two feet of SKYFLEX.
When all the attributes of ePTFE tape are totaled, the net expenditure ends up about the same, but with a significant payback in benefits:
There are many factors when choosing material for use as a form-in-place sealant on aircraft. In addition to physical properties, the material’s characteristics in application and service performance also require consideration. The optimal combination of properties can not only satisfy technical requirements, but also address the need to positively impact aircraft maintainability, improving aircraft availability and long term life cycle costs.
About the author: Christopher S. Mardis (Colonel, USAF Retired) is president of CSM Solutions LLC, which provides logistics and technical management consultant services. He is an aircraft maintenance and military logistics professional with more than 26 years of active-duty military service. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Teflon is a registered trademark of the Chemours company. Skydrol is a registered trademark of Eastman Chemical. SemKit® is a registered trademark of PPG Industries.
TDAAS collects data from disparate systems to speed development, validation.
Validation of aerospace components is critical since the failure of a component in the field can result in the loss of life or aircraft. Engine and flight stakeholders need to assess specific component behavior with real decision-enabling information, rather than volumes of data.With funding from the Air Force Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer program, RJ Lee Group (RJLG) developed the Test Data Aggregation and Analytical System (TDAAS). The technology makes vast, disparate archives of scientific and engineering information available to drive real-time, knowledgeable decisions. TDAAS locates data to answer difficult questions driving design, development, and deployment of defense systems.
TDAAS helps eliminate re-engineering costs and has reduced the time it takes to find test data and related documents, allowing for hundreds more analysis iterations.
Test data at Arnold Engineering Development Complex (AEDC) test facilities exceed 1petabyte (1million gigabytes) in size, spread across countless unrelated databases. Engineers are increasingly challenged to provide accurate and insightful analysis in a timely manner. Improved searching and data correlation capabilities and processes can better identify and discover meaningful information about turbine engine propulsion, aerodynamics of systems and ordinances, and space systems.
“Every day, scientists, engineers, and analysts have to rely on human memory and are often not able to find the information from a similar test or are unable to trust the prior test result due to a lack of complete documentation, and this leads to them doing new testing and analysis which increases sustainment costs,” says program manager Brandon Hoffman. “Across the Department of Defense there is a great need to collect, index, and link this type of information together in a way that provides meaning to future or derived works across multiple locations and sources. TDAAS enables the ability to connect to these multiple locations and sources, making all of the information searchable without changing the data’s original location or owner.”
Klaus Schug, a chief architect at Arnold AFB, says, “TDAAS has increased the amount of information accessible by allowing individuals to add their own data and analysis results directly into TDAAS for access to all analysts. The potential for the elimination of billions of dollars of reengineering costs through the application of past lessons learned is one of the best value propositions.”
The success of the SBIR led to additional funding through a Rapid Innovation Fund (RIF) program contract for RJLG to mature the TDAAS prototype to an operational production system. At completion of the RIF contract, RJLG will have helped transition TDAAS to production at AEDC, providing users with understanding of systems cost, design, and performance.
The FA1050 5-axis horizontal machining center performs boring, end milling, finish cutting, threading, and U-axis machining while maintaining accuracy with fast metal removal rates. A cast iron base and full-plate clamping mechanism support up to 26,000 lb of table clamp force. Four heavy-duty bearings support the spindle, to reduce vibration. The boxway machine performs rapid acceleration and consistency with a 60hp spindle drive motor at 6,000rpm.
The SFcompact chip conveyor filters coolant to 50µm and handles many chip sizes and types, including stainless steel, brass, and aluminum. Instead of relying on a large-footprint, drum-based design, the system uses self-cleaning dual filters that can be removed in 15 minutes after removing the chip conveyor.
Because the filtering system is integrated within the rigid frame, the chip conveyor takes up no more floor space than a typical hinge-belt conveyor and will usually work with the existing coolant tank.
Self-cleaning dual filters eliminate chips wrapping around a drum – causing blockages, damage, and machine tool downtime – making machining materials with a variety of chip sizes and types possible. A hardened track, rigid frame construction, and other wear-resistant components offer long life.
The Landis-Bryant RU2 Fuel MGMT multi-surface grinder has the flexibility to grind complex components for fuel systems, valve and drive trains, bearings, aerospace, and medical applications.
Designed for fuel system components that require tight control over related features, it employs a dual-slide arrangement in the Z-axis that can accommodate up to six grinding spindles. Multiple slide possibilities in the X- and Z-axis – with multiple work heads, wheel heads, and dressing systems – allow the machine to bore, seat, and face.
A stiff hydrostatic round-bar guideway system enables location of all axes for dimensional and geometric accuracy, due to high-resolution Heidenhain glass scales and Fanuc linear motors. Options include multiple sizes; a range of spindles, grinding spindles, dressing spindles, slides, tooling, and fixtures; and the ability to handle parts up to 14" (350mm) in diameter and 7" (177mm) in length. Grinders can be configured as chucker, shoe centerless, and center- type systems.
Griffo Brother’s CamLink software is now available for Windows 10 and Smooth Control. The software allows users to program Mazatrol off-line on all machine controls, save files from legacy Mazak machines, translate programs from one generation of Mazak machine to another, and move data from Solidworks into Mazatrol. CamLink software offers the following functions:
The intRlox Mini Nut slip-proof clamping system guarantees that wrenches, once properly engaged, will not slip off the ER collet nuts. The smaller size intRlox nuts feature an anti-slip design that uses rounded locking grooves situated around the nut profiles as opposed to end face surfaces. Wrenches grip from the sides of the nuts, and the action of tightening or loosening temporarily locks wrenches in place.
The second generation Ultrasonic 20 linear offers 5-axis machining of complex workpieces made of advanced materials. Improvements include spindle speeds up to 60,000rpm, more powerful drive motors, a smaller footprint, and the CELOS controller with apps developed for Ultrasonic.
Reduced process forces for filigree structures, surface qualities up to Ra <0.1µm, and longer tool service life come from a digitally controlled ultrasonic generator. Tool holders contain piezo elements, activated by a program-controlled inductive system with a frequency between 20kHz and 50kHz.
Linear drives achieve maximum accelerations of >1.2 g and a 2,000ipm rapid traverse. With a large swivel range in the A-axis of the work table of -15° to 130° and an infinitely rotating 360° rotary axis, the machine is equipped for 5-axis simultaneous machining with up to 1,500rpm available as an option for the C-axis for cylindrical mill-grind and mill-turn operations.
The SSB bearing preload series adds diameters ranging from 9mm to 13mm. The single turn wave spring helps eliminate bearing play, minimizing noise. Constant light/medium pressure removes play between the ball bearings and the bearings’ inner and outer races. Preloading can reduce the risk of bearing damage due to vibration and wear due to repetitive and non-repetitive runout.
Traditional Smalley Wave Spring and Spirolox retaining rings can be machined to 0.165", or 4mm diameters.
The SS207-5AX LaserSwiss, a 20mm 7-axis Swiss-type CNC lathe with B-axis control combines Swiss-style CNC machining with laser cutting. Developed by the Innovative Machinery Group (IMG), it allows manufacturers to perform Swiss turning and laser cutting with a single setup. All operations are programmed and driven from the machine’s Fanuc 31i-B5 CNC.
The Minuteman 320 GEN II and Patriot 338 GEN II bar feeders are 12ft units for feeding round, square, and hexagonal bar stock into CNC lathes. The Minuteman 320 GEN II features a 3mm-to-20mm bar diameter range; while the Patriot 338 GEN II has a 3mm-to-38mm capacity. Both feature hydrodynamic quick-change polyurethane guide channels. This channel configuration is flooded with oil to create a hydrodynamic effect resulting in higher rpm with reduced noise and vibration.
Dual anti-vibration devices stabilize the bar stock at two critical points between the guide channel and lathe spindle, maximizing rpm potential. Its adjustable roller design provides superior support and easy setup of all bar diameters without the cost of multiple bearing blocks.
Louis Belet SA precision carbide Expert series tooling packages are designed for aluminum, brass, titanium, stainless steels, and composite material. The packages incorporate optimized geometries and coatings for drills, end mills, slotting saws, thread mills, engraving, and spotting tools.
Electrochemical machining (ECM) supports manufacturing complex components from demanding materials, as it machines high-tensile alloys and similar materials with a minimum of tool wear. The surfaces have no burrs and no changes in the microstructure of the material. Machines have been delivered to the supply chain for aero engine manufacturers, where they are used to machine central blisks, disks, and individual blades in nickel alloys.
In the electro-chemical process, the workpiece acts as positive anode and the tool as negative cathode. Between the two, an electrolyte solution flow dissolves metal ions on the workpiece. Contours, channels, grooves, and cavities are generated without touching the component.
For machining of turbine blade disks, one ECM system equipped with 11 machining stations carries out drilling, contouring, radius machining, and polishing operations in one machine. Inconel is machined at 5mm/min. Tolerances are between 0.1mm and 0.3mm.
These PVD grades feature resistance to both wear and fracture due to a nano- multi-layered AlTiN coating with high Al content. The coating reduces notch wear, crater wear, and built-up edge in machining heat resistant alloys. The two AH8000 grades include AH8015, the grade with well-balanced wear and fracture resistance; AH8005, the high hardness grade with excellent wear resistance. The grades are treated with PremiumTec surface technology, which adds a highly polished cutting surface for extra stability and long tool life.
The HRF chipbreaker, for finishing, provides low cutting force due to the large rake angle and inclination on the cutting edge, delivering excellent chip control particularly when machining in low depth-of-cut ranges. The HRM chipbreaker, for finishing to medium cutting, features a protrusion on the rake surface that minimizes the swarf from contacting the rake surface, decreasing built-up edge.
The TRAK 2OP streamlines a shop’s work flow by bringing an additional spindle quickly to an operator and reducing overall cycle/throughput times by performing the secondary operation within the cycle time of the primary operation. The 2OP improves labor utilization and reduces product planning/ scheduling.
The TRAK 2OP has a 2.5ft x 4ft footprint, contains an eight-station automatic tool changer, and can run G-code. It utilizes proven ProtoTRAK CNC technology with conversational language programming. Programs can be generated either at the machine or remotely to perform tasks normally associated with secondary operations.
GT-27 SL 3-axis gang-tooled slant-bed is a 7.5hp, 6,000rpm, 5-C collet spindle machine with 13.5" of cross travel and a C-axis with driven tools. The machine can truncate an ID and OD thread using a rotary broach and has a 1-3/8" sliding headstock bar machine.
The RXS-400 for cellular manufacturing uses a Fanuc M710 robot which carries a bank of eight Guyson Model 900 guns, mounted in a heavy-duty cabinet with powered sliding door. The robot controls twin Alpha S4 servos coupled to Apex precision 50:1 ratio gear boxes. A precision two-stop CAM Technologies indexer puts the part in the exact location for the robot to paint the surface. A roof-mounted precision rotary union supplies air to vacuum holding fixtures.
Guyson Corp. of U.S.A.
The ROMER Absolute Arm 77 for high-end 3D measurement applications is an advanced portable coordinate measurement machine (PCMM) that boosts scanning accuracy by 20% and touch probe accuracy by 15% compared to the 75 Series. Available in five sizes from 2.5m to 4.5m measuring volumes, the 77 series can be switched on and used immediately without warm-up or referencing. Probe changes can be made without recalibration. Acoustic and haptic operator feedback facilitate usage in harsh shop-floor environments.
A standard 3,000N magnetic base offers mounting options for various applications and part sizes.
The slim design of the TRIBOS-SVL toolholder extensions allows precise and smooth machining of workpiece areas that are difficult to access. The slim design extension is robust and permits a run-out accuracy of less than 0.003mm.
The TRIBOS-SVL can be combined with a variety of toolholders, such as Tendo hydraulic expansion toolholders, Celsio heat shrink toolholders, with collet toolholders, and TRIBOS toolholders.
The TRIBOS SVL line has a range of clamping diameters and are available in 0.3mm to 20mm and 0.125" to 0.75".
The Nakamura-Tome NTRX-300 features a built-in load/unload automation system and advanced operator recognition software.
The turning center features true opposing twin spindles; an 8" A2-6 25hp or a 10" A2-8 30hp. The machine also features a 25hp tool spindle with 12,000rpm, and full 5-axis capabilities, with a Fanuc 31i A5 control and offers a large machining area for application versatility. The NTRX-300 can machine a 10" square on the face of a part, with no C-axis rotation required due to X-axis capability of 5" (125mm) below center travel and a Y-axis capability of 10" (250mm). With a 104ft2 (9.66m2) footprint and weighing 37,480 lb. (17,000kg) for rigidity, the NTRX-300 is available in two models; 8" (203mm) chucks with 2.5" (63.5mm) bar capacity or 10" (250mm) chucks with 3.15" (80mm) bar capacity. Also available is the NTRX-300L with a longer Z-axis.
The Hydromat EPIC R/T 25-12 is a collet style rotary transfer machine for precision metal cutting of stock sizes up to 1.0" round, 0.75" hex, and 0.50" square with a part length up to 4". This machine uses 12 horizontal tool spindles with the capacity for up to six vertical tool spindles, featuring up to 18 tools in the cut at once. It also has the rigidity to handle all components and all material types within its work envelope. The system’s non-rotating bar stock design provides quiet, vibration-free operation.
The rotary transfer machines are built as modular systems consisting of horizontal and vertical tool spindles rigidly mounted around a cast base with high-precision machining of all critical surfaces. This arrangement provides versatility and flexibility in a turnkey machining system. This current version of the EPIC R/T 25-12 machine features Bar Change Stop, an automatic hard stop built into the bar feeder that further refines bar position by giving accurate position reference for the end of the new bar. It then begins the countdown for the remnant based on a known and fixed distance.
An updated 2-axis programmable flange offers up to ±30mm of extended travel for offset features, rotary OD, and ID recessing, thread milling, chamfering, and in-process de-burring that eliminates costly secondary operations.
Norton Century45 centerless bond platform features chemistry that improves grain retention in the wheel for porous wheel construction. Wheels are available with ceramic, aluminum oxide, silicon carbide grain, and abrasive blends to maximize user grinding safety and efficiency. The wheels reduce cycle times by up to 50%, improve stock removal by more than 30%, and increase wheel life from 30% to 100% versus standard products.
Bidemics JX1 semi-finishing and finishing tools and JP2 finishing tools now include honed edge preparation (E02) for available geometries. JP2 offers 1,700sfm speed capability, 10x to 15x greater speed compared to carbide, and coated multi-tipped brazed inserts. JX1 has a speed capability of 1,600sfm, longer tool life, and better surface finish compared to whisker ceramics, and is able to cut new aerospace materials.
The Genesis 200GX threaded wheel grinding machines features two-spindles for maximum productivity with minimized idle and setup times. The 200GX features twist control and polish grinding for mirror-like surfaces. The software-guided setup allows operators to change from one workpiece to another within 20 minutes using only one tool.
The high speed H-12 machine, designed for the die/mold and aerospace industries, is a bridge-type double column CNC machining center featuring a Fanuc 31i control. The machining center delivers superior surface finish, high precision, and fast throughput with an inline direct-drive spindle. The rigid double-column design keeps the spindle close to the bridge casting, reducing overhang. Direct-coupled ballscrews increase accuracy and the absolute encoders provide fast startup.
Mida Diamond Touch Probes for part checks include piezoelectric technology for measuring performance. The probes are available with wired transmission, optical transmission, and radio transmission.
The Mida Diamond Visual Tool Setter (VTS) for tool checking uses a video camera to detect tool dimensions, in particular those of micro-tools, and for complex measurements. VTS can be used with dedicated measuring software for checking a wide range of tools, offering repeatability of less than 1µm.
Mida Diamond probing line reduces machining and checking times, increases production efficiency, reduces production rejects, and provides constant machining quality.
The hinged, steel conveyor belt has a pork-chop shaped, side wing carrying wall for a flush, jam-resistant conveyor belt. The system is for demanding metal-working, manufacturing scrap, and parts handling conveying. The side wing is made with 0.25" thick, higher tensile-strength Exten Steel welded together with close tolerances to form a tight, gap-free chain-carrying side wall.
The QLS (Quick Locating System) fixture plate is designed for use with Jergens’ Ball-Lock quick change system. With the connection to Ball-Lock, the QLS allows users to add the range of the Fixture-Pro system.
The modular workholding of Fixture-Pro combined with Ball-Lock provides a multiplying effect on productivity. The design offers users a system that can be changed – even between machines – in just seconds. Ball-Lock sub plates mount directly to the machine table and provide the connection to the new QLS system, which in turn connects to almost any combination of Fixture-Pro risers, adapters, and top tooling.
Tool Architect allows users to specify boring tool configurations by identifying and specifying boring tool configurations based on input specifications. The system allows users to input multiple tool configurations and virtually build a complete tool assembly and create 2D and 3D models for review.
The Viper PG5 has a high-wall, gantry style, simultaneous 5-axis double column vertical machining center for large-size and heavy workpieces. With 2-axis milling head, the system uses 5-axis machining to achieve high-efficiency manufacturing.
This machining center has a built-in 60hp, 15,000rpm, HSK A100 spindle, and a maximum table load of 115,000 lb, with available table sizes up to 137" x 236".
German INA roller linear guideways on all three linear axes provide high rigidity and fast feed rates.
PG5 uses Hiwin C3 class ballscrews. The X- and Z-axis use dual ballscrews and all linear axes use ballscrews with cooling systems to avoid heat generation caused by ballscrew movement. Ballscrew cooling promotes dynamic 3-axis performance by maintaining a constant temperature.