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Walter outlines some of its latest tools that are being used for high-performance aerospace machining applications.

‘Titanium alloys such as Ti5553 and composites such as CFRP – where there is a lack of long-term machining experience – as well as high-speed and five-axis machining, are setting new, higher demands for tooling suppliers,’ said Gerry O’Hagan, managing director, Walter.

‘And Walter continues to respond with, for example, new drills and boring tools for machining composites.

‘The tools are designed specifically to overcome the “notching” effect often inherent when, for instance, producing holes in composites.

‘Tooling for CFRP machining must cut the fibres cleanly.

‘If the fibres are torn, there is an extremely high risk of fracture.

‘Other aerospace materials such as titanium, high-temperature steel and nickel-based alloys in particular, also place extremely high demands on process reliability and machining quality.

‘Walter’s response has been to develop new indexable inserts with optimised geometries and coatings, as well as internally cooled solid-carbide cutters manufactured from newly developed substrates.

‘The use of aluminium as an aerospace material remains important, although its proportion of use may be reduced – in both the Boeing Dreamliner and the Airbus A350 XWB, aluminium accounts for only around 20 per cent, compared with 50 per cent composites.

‘Walter also continues its tooling developments in this field and is, for example, addressing the demand for optimised/higher quality production with a series of new milling cutters,’ he added.

Pointing out Walter’s constant development of titanium and solid-carbide tooling for jet engine components made from titanium alloys, high-temperature steel and nickel-based alloys such as Inconel 718, O’Hagan also adds that tools from the ranges of Walter, Prototyp and Titex are being used when milling, for example, turbine discs, main landing gear and landing gear beams.

For instance, the high-performance F4030 Xtra.tec face mill features the Tiger.tec Silver WKP35S trigon indexable inserts or, alternatively, PVD aluminium oxide Tiger grades WSM35 and WSP45.

Available in initial diameters from 25mm to 63mm, F4030 is one of a host of Xta.tec milling tools now available with the new generation CVD-coated Tiger.tec Silver inserts.

The F4030 is typical of the new high-performance tooling being developed for aerospace machining.

It is mounted in a ‘flat’ 0-21deg position to encourage feeds per tooth of up to 3.5mm and offers cutting depths of 1mm, with six usable cutting edges on each insert to minimise costs.

It is suitable for high-speed applications such as angled plunge cutting, plunge cutting and pocket milling, as well as face milling, in both dry and wet applications.

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