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The NCMT stand at the Farnborough International Airshow will feature two areas of manufacture: milling of aircraft structural parts and grinding of engine components using the Viper process.

The manufacturer of the machining centres for both of these applications is Makino, Japan, for which NCMT is sole UK agent.

This year the company will introduce two new Makino machining centres – T4 and T2 – for efficient production of titanium parts.

Makino claims that the T-Series machines deliver high feed forces and a rigid structure; good damping to resist vibration; a dynamically stiff, high-torque spindle; high-volume coolant delivery and efficient evacuation of swarf.

The machines combine the roughing capacity of a four-axis machine with five-axis finishing capability, so only one machining centre is needed rather than two, reducing capital cost.

Working envelope of the T4 is 4,200 x 2,000 x 1,000mm and axis feed rates are up to 16m/min, allowing the production of sizeable airframe parts such as bulkheads, edge frames and pylons.

The machine’s HSK-A125, integral-drive spindle provides 1,000Nm of continuous torque (1,500Nm peak), 150kW of power and a tool clamping force of 10 tonnes.

The two-axis spindle is of compact design, combining the latest spindle motor technology to deliver high torque over a wide speed range.

Combined A-axis movement of +/-110deg and 360deg, continuous C-axis rotation allow good accessibility to the component being machined.

A high-pressure, high-flow coolant system delivers 200l/min of water-soluble coolant at high pressure (70 bar) through the spindle to the cutting zone, while an additional 200l/min of coolant is delivered via an overhead shower, plus a further 200l/min through nozzles around the spindle.

The high coolant volumes and pressures ensure temperature reduction at the point of cutting, as well as efficient chip evacuation, underpinning accurate machining of large titanium parts over long periods.

Tests in Japan have demonstrated the T4’s metal-removal rate.

Using an 80mm diameter porcupine mill at 245rev/min with 600Nm of torque, 500cm3 of Ti-6Al-4V was removed in 1min – five times faster than the industry average of 100cm3/min.

Most recently introduced for machining titanium is the more compact (7m x 9.8m footprint) Makino T2, which has half the travel in X of 2,000mm, the same in Y (2,000mm) but a larger Z-axis travel of 1,600mm.

The machine is available in two versions – one similar to the T4 with an identical A/C-axis spindle but with additional table indexing.

The other version has a spindle with A-axis movement only – the table and 1.25 x 1.25m pallet performing the B-axis movement.

For the production of engine parts, Viper creep-feed grinding is capable of stock-removal rates up to eight times those achievable when conventionally grinding nickel alloys using a plated CBN wheel.

Broaching, milling and turning operations can also be eliminated using the Viper superabrasive process.

In all cases, consumable costs are reduced.

The latest development is the introduction of the Makino i-Grinder G5, a purpose-built, five-axis machine.

It is 10 per cent quicker at machining nickel-alloy components than the modified Makino A55 machining centre that it supersedes.

Metal removal rate is of the order of 80cc/min and the machine accepts parts nominally up to 300mm in diameter.

The enhancement in grinding efficiency comes from a number of factors, including an increase in linear rapid traverse rate from 40 to 48m/min.

Faster rotary workhead speed, which has more than doubled to 100rpm, is especially beneficial when grinding smaller components.

The programmable coolant nozzles versatile, as they may be positioned by two rotary NC axes anywhere through 360deg around the periphery of the grinding wheel.

To achieve this, power and coolant supplies are built-in rather than delivered through an umbilical cord.

Nozzle positioning speed is faster and therefore more responsive when changing position to direct coolant accurately towards the point of cutting.

In addition to abrasive wheels, other live and static tools such as milling cutters, drills, broaches or turning tools may be exchanged automatically between the tool magazine and the spindle, allowing additional machining operations to be carried out in the same cycle.

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