Peter Zelinski has been a writer and editor for Modern Machine Shop for more than a decade. One of the aspects of this work that he enjoys the most is visiting machining facilities to learn about the manufacturing technology, systems and strategies they have adopted, and the successes they’ve realized as a result. Pete earned his degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Cincinnati, and he first learned about machining by running and programming machine tools in a metalworking laboratory within GE Aircraft Engines. Follow Pete on Twitter at Z_Axis_MMS.
Airbus says it is expanding its use of additive manufacturing in aircraft part production. The reasons why are the ones typically cited: less lead time, less material, less environmental impact. However, a statement from the company gives numbers for some of the savings its expects to see. The company says parts produced additively (such as the bracket in the photo) will be 30 to 55 percent lighter than the parts they replace, will use 90 percent less raw material, and will decrease energy used in production by as much as 90 percent. Read more here.
The Additive Manufacturing Workshop is a new event debuting at IMTS this year. The half-day workshop to be held September 9 will focus on the use of 3D printing technologies to make functional components and end-use parts. Speakers scheduled to appear include various people and companies we’ve covered in the Additive Manufacturing supplement to Modern Machine Shop. They include:
Craig Blue of Oak Ridge National Laboratory, speaking on the latest developments in additive at Oak Ridge. (It was Ryan Dehoff, who works with him at Oak Ridge, who was quoted in this article.)
Jon Baklund of Baklund R&D, speaking on additive manufacturing in the job shop.
Lou Young of Linear Mold, speaking on additive manufacturing for mold making.
Michael Hayes of Boeing, speaking on polymeric additive manufacturing in aerospace.
GE Aviation has announced that the LEAP jet engine fuel nozzle—the nozzle (shown) with a design made possible by additive manufacturing—will be mass-produced in Auburn, Alabama, starting next year. Up to 10 additive manufacturing machines will be installed at the company’s plant in Auburn, which was opened last year.
Additive manufacturing capacity will increase from there, the company says. Production demand for the new fuel nozzle is scheduled to ascend steeply, growing from an initial rate of 1,000 units per year to 40,000 per year by 2020. GE says the Auburn site could ultimately have more than 50 additive manufacturing machines, with nozzle production expanding to occupy a third of the facility.
Those nozzles will be sent to an even newer engine production plant in Lafayette, Indiana, that is scheduled to open next year. This $100 million plant, which will include both CNC machining and assembly, will be the seventh new U.S. manufacturing site in seven years for GE Aviation.
Linear Mold & Engineering is a company realizing a range of possibilities for additive manufacturing. The company uses production 3D printing not only to “grow” metal parts that couldn’t be made any other way, but also to create mold inserts that have cooling lines conforming to the curves of the mold for superior heat transfer.
An Airbus research and technology leader was quoted in this article describing what he sees as low-hanging fruit in the supply chain—that is, opportunities to get greater output from existing CNC machines. One opportunity he sees is increasing metal removal rate in milling by selecting spindle speeds with an understanding of the machine’s and the overall system’s tendencies to chatter. The practice has been known for decades, and Dr. Scott Smith of BlueSwarf explained in a recent Webinar just how to obtain this productivity gain.
The webinar is worth your time, because the steps for increasing productivity by mastering a machine tool’s dynamic characteristics can be counterintuitive. For example, while a shorter milling tool is likely to produce a more rigid system, that shorter tool is not necessarily better when it comes to chatter’s effect on how deep the cut can go. Dr. Smith explains why a longer tool more prone to deflection might actually be the tool able to take the deepest cut. Animations in the webinar illustrate the various frequencies your milling process is subject to, and why your cut is behaving the way it is.