A new FORCE for the aerospace industry

Uploaded 15 Jun @ 14:08pm

Force is a software module within VERICUT that uses a physics-based optimisation method to determine the maximum reliable feed rate for a given cutting condition based on four factors: force on the cutter, spindle power, maximum chip thickness, and maximum allowable feed rate. It calculates ideal feed rates by analysing tool geometry and parameters, material properties of the stock and cutting tool, detailed cutting tool edge geometry, and VERICUT cut-by-cut contact conditions.

With the material properties of the component and the cutting conditions also considered, Force determines the optimum speeds for a cutting process and makes the CNC machine cut in the most efficient, fast and reliable way. This provides significant benefits when applied to any precision machining operation where challenging materials, such as titanium, high nickel superalloys such as Hastelloy, Inconel and Waspaloy, duplex and stainless steel, and any work hardening materials, that are typically used in the production of aero engines and structural components.

To demonstrate the advantages of the new software module a number of half-day Force Roadshow seminars were held in the UK, at KYOCERA SGS Precision Tools EU Tech Hub, Wokingham; at the Advanced Forming Research Centre, Scotland; Moyola Precision Engineering, Northern Ireland; Nikken, Rotherham, and the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC), Coventry.

As part of an ongoing technical partnership formed between CGTech and a number of advanced manufacturing technology suppliers, the seminars were developed to highlight potential productivity and efficiency improvements for existing customers, as well as any new businesses that might gain a competitive edge in the global aerospace markets. Presentations of the virtual capability of Force were always backed-up by actual cutting tests.

At KYOCERA SGS this involved using the Grob G350 5-axis machining centre in the cutting tool company’s Technical Centre. Here, the demonstration part was cut from titanium 6AI 4V - a material widely used in many aerospace structural components, as well as various other applications.

The part was developed by KYOCERA SGS to reflect the challenges faced by machine shops supporting the aerospace sector, and typical machining cycles were applied. The company’s Z-Carb HPR 16 mm diameter cutting tool with 1 mm corner radius was used for each demonstration. It was applied to a Waveform machining strategy at a spindle speed of 1,600 rpm and a feedrate of 400 mm/min, with the data then reduced to 1,030 rpm and 288 mm/min for full slot cutting.

Heavy profile cutting was carried out at 1,303 rpm and 365 mm/min while the finishing cut was performed at 1,600 rpm at 600 mm/min. Finally, a drilling operation using a 12 mm diameter Ice-Carb was run at 800 rpm at 30 mm/min.

Force excels in difficult to machine materials, and especially complex multi-axis cuts such as 5-axis flank milling and applying its capabilities reduced the machining cycle time by 16 per cent, with increased tool life and a consistent chip thickness reducing the load on the machine tool’s spindle and structure.

Using the same specification titanium material applied to a fan blade type component developed by staff at the Nikken Innovation Centre Europe, here the demonstration was carried out on a Bridgeport XR1000 machining centre fitted with a Nikken 5AX-350 heavy-duty tilting/rotary table.

Initial rough stock removal was carried out in 3-axis mode for rigidity using a 6-flute 20 mm diameter Mitsubishi Carbide Coolstar bullnose cutter. The workpiece was then tilted to +4º and -4º to access the blade surfaces for roughing using the same tool. Semi-finishing of the blade surfaces required 5-axis machining using a Mitsubishi 8 mm diameter tapered ball nose cutter with a lead angle of 15º on the tool and a tilt angle of 30º. Cutting data was increased to 4,379 rpm at a feedrate of 1,400 mm/min.

The physics-based Force module also grabbed centre stage at SECO’s advanced Technical Centre facility in Brno. Here, live cutting demonstrations of the software enhanced machining cycles for hard metals run on the company’s DMG Mori DMU 60 eVo 5-axis machining centre to highlight the benefits of Force in use on the shopfloor.

Once again, the machining demonstration reflected the typical challenges faced by aerospace companies, with a section of blisk (blade integrated on disk) produced from titanium. Across the blisk machining operation a time saving of around 19 per cent was achieved.

Further reading: www.cgtech.co.uk


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