US Aerospace and Defense OEM

Tool Selection and Tool Path Optimization For High Efficiency Titanium Machining

An Aerospace and Defense OEM collaborated with Third Wave Systems to create an advanced cutter design focused on High Efficiency Machining of titanium and similar super-alloys. To achieve that goal, they created a Design of Experiments to study 6 and 9 flute cutters to understand the impact of crucial geometry and process variables using AdvantEdge. Production Module was then utilized to optimize the toolpath for improved tool life.

CHALLENGE

The 6 flute tool with chip breaker from production had an inconsistent tool life. A 9 flute tool was evaluated with High Efficiency Machining (HEM) conditions but had rapid wear and failed after machining just half a pocket. The challenge was to identify the right cutting tool and process conditions combination for leveraging HEM strategies. To meet this challenge, the user needed understand the root cause that caused catastrophic breakage and identify the right tool and the optimum conditions to resolve these issues.

APPROACH

The first step was to understand the root cause for the breakage of the 9-flute cutter. While chip packing in the flutes was suspected to be the reason, AdvantEdge analysis indicated that the high temperature and stress resulted in the tool breakage issue.

As the next step, a Design of Experiments (DOE) was set up to understand the effects of varying helix angle and programmed feed with a goal of achieving a higher material removal rate. This analysis helped finalize the cutting tool geometry. 

Finally, Production Module was used to improve the toolpath for ensuring extended tool life for the selected tool. 

IMPACT

  • Tool life improvement for more than 2X (12 minutes to 28 minutes)
  • For the 9 flute tool, the peak forces were reduced by 75% resulting in less impact on flutes as they enter and exit the cut
  • AdvantEdge analysis identified the high stress area on the tool that was reflected in the experiments as the tool breakage point
  • This helped convince the larger team of the efficacy of the analysis and increase confidence in the results

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