Cryogenic Machining Approved for F-35

The government has approved MAG’s low-flow cryogenic titanium machining process for use in the production of the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II stealth fighter.

News Item From: 9/28/2011 Modern Machine Shop

The government has approved MAG’s low-flow cryogenic titanium machining process for use in the production of the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II stealth fighter. According to Lockheed, broadly applying this technology could improve affordability and efficiency in the production of the jet, which is approximately 25 percent titanium.
 
Via the use of liquid nitrogen (the temperature of which is -321°F), the patented process is designed to improve cutting tool life and material removal rates compared to conventional machining methods in certain applications. In addition to these benefits, cryogenic machining can eliminate or minimize the use of liquid coolants, says Michael Judge, vice president of Cryogenic Business Development. He adds that liquid nitrogen is harmless to the environment.
 
MAG offers cryogenic tool cooling technology on a range of new machines, including five-axis and turning systems. The company also offers retrofits. The process was developed over a period of years by a team consisting of Creare Incorporated (New Hampshire), H.M. Dunn Company (Texas) and MAG IAS, working with Lockheed Martin, the U.S. Navy Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program Office and the F-35 Joint Program Office (JPO). Funding was provided by SBIR program awards.

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