CURRENT R&D PROJECTS
NAVY SBIR Phase I: Precision Machining of Composite Structures (2018 – present)
Third Wave Systems is currently working on a NAVY SBIR Phase I project to develop an innovative precision machining technique to control machining-induced damage, improve manufacturing efficiency, and reduce consumable tooling cost during creation of finished precision fastener holes in aerospace composite structures. TWS’ innovative approach leads to the development of a cyber-physical system (CPS) which integrates AdvantEdge, Production Module and hardware data collection capabilities into a closed-loop, adaptive control machining system. The CPS uses comparison results to continuously adjust the machining parameters to control machining-induced damage, optimize material removal rate (MRR) and dramatically improve tool life. The manufacturing data gathered by the CPS is retained and integrated into a part digital twin to provide needed traceability of the part manufacturing process. The interoperability among machines, tools, sensors and people, a core design principle of Industry 4.0, will improve quality control, increase manufacturing efficiency and reduce operational costs considerably.
U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory Phase II: Machining Tools for the Machining of Ceramic Matrix Composites (2016-present)
During the Phase I project, Third Wave Systems successfully demonstrated machining modeling of CMCs using its commercially-distributed software products, AdvantEdge and Production Module. A CMC engine component has been selected for demonstration of cost reduction at a partner facility during the Phase II project.
The Phase II project focuses on finding new ways to machine CMCs faster while improving scrap rate and part quality. Often the nature of the material poses the biggest challenge because many aspects of the tools used are sensitive to the process parameters. Existing CAM software tools generate toolpaths entirely based on geometrical aspects of machining without consideration for the physics that make up the material properties of the processes (force, defection, etc.).
Third Wave Systems is aiming to find a solution to these challenges using its finite element and NC optimization products to reduce machining cycle times, scrap rates, and setup times and maximize production capabilities without trial-and-error testing and without having to invest in additional equipment.
RECENTLY COMPLETED R&D PROJECTS
Department of Energy: Sustainable Manufacturing via Multi-scale Physics-based process modeling and manufacturing-informed design (2012-2016)
The project objective is to develop and demonstrate a new manufacturing informed design framework that will utilize advanced multi-scale, physics-based process modeling to dramatically improve manufacturing productivity and quality while reducing the costs of machined components. A combination of advanced microstructural prediction models and physics-based modeling tools will enable the framework to more accurately predict machined component quality and engineering performance.
Air Force RIF: High Productivity Composite Machining (2013-2016)
In 2016 Third Wave Systems completed a series of progressively advancing composite machining programs for the F-35 and demonstrated large gains in efficiency by applying its physics-based modeling technology and optimizing current F-35 machining processes.
Third Wave Systems used its existing software, AdvantEdge and Production Module as the technology platform to model the machining of polymer matrix composites (PMCs) and to predict and optimize forces and temperatures during machining as well as control them through feed and speed selection.
NAVAIR SBIR Phase 2.5: Gear Hobbing Predictive Model (2016-2017)
In 2017 TWS finished its Gear Hobbing project with NAVAIR and released the first commercial version of the Gear Hobbing implementation into AdvantEdge. The project focused on demonstrating the feasibility of innovative physics-based modeling of gear hobbing to predict and improve residual stresses, and heat treat distortions while reducing production cycle times and costs of transmission gears.
The first version is focused on the cylindrical hobbing process enabling users to study this metal cutting process in a virtual environment. This software will help users to reduce manufacturing costs through improvements in tool life and process parameter optimization, improve gear quality by predicting chip formation problems and the effect of process changes on the machining induced heat and stress and ncrease development ROI by reducing iteration time and trial-and-error testing.