Cryogenic machining for aerospace manufacturing
- February 18, 2015
5ME and Okuma have joined forces to demonstrate the advantages of cryogenic machining. The partnership will establish two cryo demonstration facilities, one at 5ME's Technical Center in Warren, MI, and the other at Okuma's Aerospace Center of Excellence in Charlotte, NC.
Cryogenic machining offers faster processing, longer tool life, increased part quality and lower environmental impact, according to the partners, who plan to demonstrate these advantages in their respective facilities using 5ME's cryogenic machining technology.
Both facilities will have Okuma machines equipped with cryogenic systems that use vacuum jacketed feed lines to deliver small flow rates of liquid nitrogen (LN2) through the tool directly to the cutting edge.
“Cryogenic machining is suited to the processing of tough materials like hardened/stainless/alloy steels, Inconel, and titanium, commonly used in aerospace part production, says Pete Tecos, executive vice president of 5ME. “Okuma was an early adopter of cryogenic machining and this partnership will continue the development of cryogenic machining applications, and allow manufacturers to present real-world production challenges to determine how cryo can provide a solution.”
5ME’s multi-patented cryogenic machining process is a breakthrough technology that enables higher cutting speeds for increased material removal and longer tool life by transmitting liquid nitrogen at ‑321°F through the spindle/turret and tool body, directly to the cutting edge. This environmentally friendly metal cutting technology increases throughput, part quality, tool life, and profitability while reducing energy consumption. “This partnership gives us the opportunity to show the productivity boosting, energy saving qualities of cryogenic machining, and assist aerospace manufacturers in their quest to meet tough part processing challenges,” says Wade Anderson, product specialist manager, Okuma America Corp.
Aerospace manufacturers use Okuma’s 10,000 sq ft Aerospace Center of Excellence as a testing and proving ground for advanced CNC machining technology. The facility includes nine CNC machines designed for the aerospace market, as well as a fully operational metrology room with CMM equipment and other quality measurement devices.
5ME is a member of Okuma’s “Partners in THINC” program. The company's solutions – which include cryogenic machining systems and process development, as well as asset monitoring and enterprise software suites – address the five critical components of Man, Material, Machines, Methods and Metrics (the "M's") to improve a manufacturing enterprise's efficiency (the "E").