Cutting Tool Engineering

December 2012 / IMTS 2012 Roundup


ADI increases titanium machining capacity with MAG machines
Cutting Tool Engineering
Aerospace Dynamics International has purchased eight MAG 5-spindle, 5-axis XTi gantry profilers to support the increasing demand for titanium aerospace parts.

At an IMTS press briefing, Aerospace Dynamics International Inc., Valencia, Calif., announced that it will increase its titanium machining capacity about 40 percent to support the Airbus A350 and Boeing 787 programs with a new 120,000-sq.-ft. facility and a $36 million investment to acquire eight 5-spindle, 5-axis XTi profilers from MAG IAS LLC, Erlanger, Ky. Upon completion, the expansion will give ADI about 600,000 sq. ft. under roof and require more than 200 new employees to staff the operation. In addition to the machine tools, ADI purchased tooling and application support from MAG’s Productivity Solutions business and Freedom eLOG factory monitoring software from MAG Delta 4.

“We are producing some significant titanium assemblies and side-frame components for the Airbus A350 that require lots of heavy machining, and we expect these machines to fill a big role in reaching our contracted ramp-up rates,” said ADI President and CEO John Cave.

With the increasing rate of aircraft production, “there are not enough spindles to produce all the needed titanium parts in the next 10 years,” said Ed Hatcher, director of manufacturing for ADI, “but we’re doing our part.” He noted ADI designs and produces carbide cutting tools for machining titanium.

The new 5-axis gantry design utilizes the same high-stiffness frame as the 3-axis XTi, which achieved a metal-removal rate of more than 90 cu. in. per minute in a runoff for ADI, which purchased two of those profilers last year.

MAG also displayed its CYCLO CUT Max-Flute end mills for titanium roughing at IMTS. The mills have a 16-flute design capable of high removal rates at low torque. The high-density end mills run at 2,037 rpm and 5.8 m/min (231 ipm) to achieve removal rates of up to 131 cm3/min (8 in3/min) with only 33.8 Nm (25 ft lb) of torque and 6.7 kW (9 hp). When cutting titanium, 60 to 70 percent of the heat generated is normally transferred to the tool, dramatically reducing tool life. Max-Flute tools use shallow, radial widths of cut, which transfers less heat to the cutting tool and allows higher surface speeds for roughing titanium, Inconel and other high temperature alloys that have traditionally required high torque at low rpm to achieve desired removal rates.

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