CNC machining plays a critical role in nearly every modern manufacturing environment. However, aerospace manufacturing is particularly unique. To build your production setup, you must have a keen understanding of materials, tools, and processes. This short guide introduces some basic concepts and tools you should know for successful aerospace parts production.
Aerospace Tooling Applications To Be More Efficient
“The right tools for the job,” so the common axiom goes. Three factors should influence the metalworking tools you choose:
- Part design
All metals and alloys have unique properties that affect how they’re machined. Softer metals, like aluminum, must be worked on high horsepower machines with optimal coolant flow. Others, such as titanium alloys, require high cutting forces that can generate extremely hot temperatures while machining.
Of course, these materials’ properties affect equipment choice, but part designs are equally as important. Engine casings are complex components and call for several different machining processes: turning, rough milling, finish milling and drilling. In these cases, modular tooling is an ideal solution.
Modular setups allow multiple tooling types to operate on the same CNC machine, cutting down on total tooling time and costs. Both improve efficiency. Other ways to keep your operations efficient include matching tool styles to your materials based on material properties.
Precision is key to every aspect of aerospace parts production. Critical measurements impact multiple machining processes: end milling, face milling, hole making, and more. Force, torque, and power are fundamental values. Others include velocity, power, and flow for cutting fluid plus machining power for hole-making applications.
Having these figures will significantly aid in planning your production operations. Fortunately, you can find machining calculator applications to help you find such measurements. With these calculators, it’s easy to discover the proper figures based on the materials used in each metalworking process during parts manufacturing.
Keep in mind that machining calculators aren’t meant to provide exact values. However, they can offer general guidelines for operational parameters.
The Trendy Use of Addictive Manufacturing Tools
Traditional CNC machining comprises most aerospace manufacturing operations. However, additive manufacturing offers many applications for aircraft parts production. While once limited to nonfunctional components, AM has recently been used to produce structural titanium components — specifically, door latch fittings.
Currently, traditional techniques are preferred for most aerospace components. Once parts’ designs have been certified, industry practices favor sticking with those certified designs. These designs are often used throughout the aircraft’s production runs. More additive manufacturing possibilities await as components for new planes are designed with AM processes in mind.
Meanwhile, additive manufacturing offers many potential benefits. Additive printing machines can use gas-atomized metallic powders such as Kennametal’s Stellite to build components layer by layer. Stellite high-temperature powders include chromium-tungsten, cobalt-chromium, and cobalt-chromium-molybdenum alloys. Prototyping can be completed quickly, allowing parts to enter production faster. Post-print processing and finishing prepare each part for its useful life.
Your Production Setup
From blades and disks to landing gear components, every aerospace part calls for precision tooling solutions. Your CNC machining supplier can assist you in selecting the best aerospace tooling options for your production environment.