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.