Cryogenic Machining of 787 Fuselage
At one of the newest Boeing manufacturing locations, a new machining technology will be used to process a new choice of material within a new aircraft. Starting early next year, Boeing South Carolina will mill and drill composite fuselage sections for the 787 Dreamliner through cryogenic machining.
The technology was developed by Mag. This company’s six-axis FTR AutoDrill (pictured) will perform the machining. Cryogenic machining involves delivering liquid nitrogen cooled to –321°F through the tool. The fluid absorbs heat from the machining process, resulting in extended tool life, reduced material adhesion, and the chance for increased cutting speed, not to mention chips that are both dry and cool. Because only a low flow rate of liquid nitrogen is needed, Mag’s formal name for the technology is “MQC,” or Minimum Quantity Cryogenic.
To hear about the latest in cryogenic machining, come to Chicago in September. The TRAM3 aerospace manufacturing conference at IMTS will include a presentation from Mag called “Cryogenic Super Cooling for Aerospace Machining.” To see the complete list of speakers for this new two-day conference, which is sponsored by Boeing and Rolls-Royce, visit TRAM-conference.com.
Achieving acceptable tool life and hole quality in a material such as CFRP demands a drill designed with composites in mind.
Lockheed Martin’s precision machining of composite skin sections for the F-35 provides part of the reason why this plane saves money for U.S. taxpayers. That machining makes the plane compelling in ways that have led other countries to take up some of the cost. Here is a look at a high-value, highly engineered machining process for the Joint Strike Fighter aircraft.
In carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP), the material removal mechanism is shattering instead of shearing. This makes it different from other machining applications.