F-35: Phase III and Faster Delivery

Under the direction of a NAVAIR Phase II.5 SBIR program, Nex-Tech Aerospace was selected to partner with Third Wave Systems to optimize the machining process of a complex F-35 airframe component. The titanium article required a large volume of material removal (95%), and had high production yields and a stable existing machining process.

THE PART

  • Component workpiece material is a 7.5 x 9 x 28 inch block of Titanium-6Al-4V with a starting weight of 321 pounds
  • After 242 cubic inches of material is removed, the finished part weighs 13 pounds

APPROACH

  • Machining time reduced by 25% for applicable operations
  • TWS engineers train Nex-Tech NC programmers and engineers on Production Module capabilities
  • Nex-Tech staff use Production Module to optimize machining of component using a load-leveling approach: spikes reduced, low forces raised
  • TWS and Nex-Tech conduct machining trial of six individual setups and toolpaths to establish
    confidence in Production Module results

IMPACT

  • Machining time reduced by 25% for applicable operations
  • Component inspected and approved for shipment to prime
    contractor
  • Production Module software purchased by Nex-Tech for
    application to components for a variety of military and
    commercial platforms

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