Aerospace Dynamics International, Inc. (ADI) will increase its titanium machining capacity approximately 40 percent to support Airbus A350 and Boeing 787 programs with a $90 million investment that includes a new 120,000-square-foot facility and acquisition of eight five spindle, five-axis MAG XTi profilers. Upon completion, the expansion will give ADI approximately 600,000 square feet under roof, and require more than 200 new employees to fully staff the operation. This new order follows ADI’s 2011 purchase of two MAG five-spindle three-axis XTi profilers, which were part of an earlier plant expansion that included two MAG U5 portal mills and two MC 1600 boring mills. In addition to machine tools, ADI purchased tooling and applications support from MAG's Productivity Solutions business, and Freedom eLOG® factory monitoring software from MAG Delta 4. According to MAG, ADI’s $36 million machinery purchase is one of the largest single aerospace orders in the history of the company in terms of total value and number of spindles.

“We are producing some significant titanium assemblies and sideframe components for the Airbus A350 that require lots of heavy machining, and we expect these machines to fill a big role in reaching our contracted ramp-up rates,” said ADI President and CEO John Cave. ADI – part of the privately held Marvin Group in Southern California – is an award-winning supplier for leading aerospace OEM's, including Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Airbus, Spirit and others. Its primary contracts include the Boeing 737, 777 and 787; the Airbus A330, A350 and A380; and the Lockheed Martin F-35. The Boeing Company and Spirit AeroSystems named ADI a 2011 supplier of the year.

A new multi-spindle gantry design for ADI

The new 5-axis gantry design utilizes the same high-stiffness frame as the three-axis XTi, which set a titanium metal removal record of 90+ cubic inches per minute in runoff for ADI. “The three-axis version of this machine really proved itself, and the new five-axis version builds on this platform,” Cave said. “We set demanding requirements for the five-axis machines, and MAG stepped up with a complete new approach that is superior to anything else on the market. This is a major breakthrough in gantry design that gives us capabilities we never had before. Setup will be easier and accuracy will be on par with the three-axis design. The rotary axes on each spindle can be independently calibrated and controlled to enhance accuracy and simplify setup. And for three-axis roughing operations, the rotary axes can be automatically locked for additional control over the final machining setup.“

The 40 spindles will be carried on eight individually controlled gantries, with four gantries each mounted on two pairs of 91.4 m (300 ft) X-axis rails. The gantries span a 6 m (20 ft) Y-axis, with a Z-axis depth of 711 mm (28 in). The work envelope between each pair of rails will total 1,300 m2 (14,000 sq ft). Each spindle’s angular A and B axes can travel ±30 degrees, with accuracy ensured by digital scale feedback. For ADI’s application, the machines are equipped with 52-kW (70 hp), 7,000-rpm spindles, and each spindle can deliver up to 1,345 Nm (986 ft lb) of torque into the cut at 40-7,000 rpm. The standard XTi spindle is normally rated 51 kW (68 hp), 3,500-rpm, and produces 2,523 Nm (1860 ft lb) torque.

“A multispindle machine that can rough and finish titanium at this rate gives us a real competitive edge,” Cave explained. “A single-spindle machine runs at roughly the same speeds and feeds, yet our machines complete five parts in the same cycle time, so we are much more efficient than we could be with individual machines. In addition, our infrastructure overhead is reduced, compared to what we would need for 40 discrete machines on the floor.”

MAG introduced the original-model Ti profiler in 2007 in response to surging demand for aerospace titanium parts. “When the OEMs decided to use composite fuselages, we knew the substructures would have to be exceptionally strong and rigid, probably requiring titanium, so we switched our emphasis from aluminum machining to Ti,” Cave said. “This really paid off for us as the percent of Ti in aircraft skyrocketed. Looking at our backlog, we are already considering whether to add another pair of X-axis rails for some additional three-axis machining capacity in our new Building Seven.”

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MAG's new XTi “super profiler” takes aerospace machining to a record altitude, demonstrating a 90-cubic-inch-per-minute metal removal rate (MRR) in titanium prior to shipment to Aerospace Dynamics International, Inc. (ADI), Valencia, California.

The machines are part of a $100 million expansion that includes a new 120,000-sq-ft manufacturing center. The two machines will share a 120-foot X-axis rail for multi-part production of titanium components for the Boeing 777 and 787, and Airbus A350.

According to Chip Storie, MAG Executive Vice President, the 3-axis, 5-spindle XTi profiler is engineered and built for maximum dynamic stiffness and sustained power in titanium roughing operations to meet ADI’s aggressive processing requirements. “ADI's goal was to set a new standard for producing titanium parts at the lowest cost per piece, and the XTi Profiler provides that capability and more," he emphasized. “This machine is in a performance class by itself, equipped with a massive cross rail and robust spindle design that enable it to perform at this high rate on a sustained basis.”

ADI President and CEO John Cave added: "This is the stiffest profiler we’ve ever seen in action. We typically rough machine Ti 6A14V with a radial depth of cut (RDOC) of 0.38 inch and axial depth of cut (ADOC) of 1.5 to 2.5 inches. During our visit we had MAG machine an angular channel in titanium, with 4.0 inch axial depth and a 1.5 inch radial depth. We were impressed at the ease with which these cuts were made. The machine peeled off perfect '6-shaped' chips with no chatter or sign of structural instability. The part finish was excellent. It was a remarkable demonstration and exceeded our expectations, giving us confidence as we move forward with plans for the new 5-axis model of the XTi."

The XTi profiler uses five spindle motors capable of up to 3500 rpm, each rated 51 kW (68 hp) and producing 2523 Nm (1860 ft lb) of torque. The machine is engineered with a new spindle support structure that is incorporated into an extremely stiff, heavyweight gantry for superior damping. The massive cross rail is 77 percent larger than previous designs, providing added stiffness, rigidity and damping for high-horsepower, chatter-free machining. To handle that power and torque, the ADI profilers are equipped with 60-taper tools for highly efficient roughing and finishing operations. The XTi is available with HSK 125A tool interface as an option. Five 6-pocket tool exchangers, located at each end of the work zone, permit five tool exchanges per machine. X-axis motion is powered by rack-and-pinion drives on both rails, while Y and Z axes are driven by large-diameter ballscrews, with a counterbalance and brake on the Z.

The two new 5-spindle XTi profilers join 32 other mostly MAG profilers at ADI. "Our business is growing, and we need manufacturing capacity to keep pace with the strong market," Cave added. "Five-spindle profilers give us a significant competitive advantage."

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The first of MAG’s giant vertical turning centers (VTC) in 5-8 meter table sizes will soon complete its runoff in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, and be shipped to a U.S. manufacturer of power generation equipment.

The VTC 5000’s 5-meter hydrostatic table is engineered to support extreme loads up to 150,000 kg (330,000 lbs), while turning parts at up to 75 rpm. “North American manufacturers in nuclear and wind energy, mining and construction are all scaling up their equipment. We are taking our product development in that same direction,” said Helene Nimmer, Director of Proposals and Product Management for MAG. “The major components of our large VTCs weigh in excess of 25,000 kg (50,000 lbs) each and can be more than 14 m (48 ft) long. As a U.S. builder of these supersize machines, we can reduce the customer lead-time and simplify logistics, which can be a costly challenge for machines of this size built by offshore manufacturers. We are also positioned to provide quicker and more comprehensive service and parts support as an established global company,” added Nimmer.

The VTC 5000 shown in the photo is an adjustable rail model offering a cross rail that is both an infinitely variable positioning and a machining axis, a combination typically not found on machines of this type. The X/Z traverse rate is 20 m/min (787 ipm) and the rail-elevating rate is a brisk 2000 mm/min (78 ipm). Full X-axis travel right and left of center allows machining from both sides and accommodates probing of diameters. W-axis machining provides improved part geometries, while the hydrostatic ram’s high dynamic stiffness allows heavy cuts and produces better surface finishes.

The VTC 5000 is part of MAG’s new series of large-table VTCs that includes 6-meter, 7-meter and 8-meter models. The 7- and 8-meter table models have a load capacity of 250,000 kg (550,000 lbs). All models in the large-table VTC series have industry-leading power/speed performance, with S1 (continuous duty) table power of 200 kW (267 hp). The new large VTCs have a modular design, allowing various combinations of standard modules to create a machine tailored to specific customer applications.

These versatile VTCs can be equipped with an optional live spindle for grinding, milling, drilling and tapping capabilities, as well as a C-axis for full contouring. Various tool tapers, including KM 80, Capto® C8 and 50 taper are available. The tool magazine is ergonomically designed, allowing floor level tool changeout and eliminating the need for ladders or platforms.

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Through-tool cooling with liquid-nitrogen supports fighter's affordability with faster metal removal rates and longer tool life. MAG's groundbreaking low-flow cryogenic titanium machining process has been approved by the government for use in production of the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II stealth fighter.

According to Lockheed Martin, when broadly applied, this new technology could improve affordability and efficiency in the production of the F-35, which is approximately 25 percent titanium. MAG demonstrated the process at the imX show in Las Vegas earlier this month, machining a complete titanium component representative of both commercial and military aerostructure parts. Senior Lockheed Martin personnel were also at the show to discuss the unique process and its integration into the supply chain.

Cryogenic titanium machining increases cutting-tool life up to a factor of 10 and doubles the material-removal rate, compared to conventional machining methods in certain applications. The multi-patented process using liquid nitrogen (-321°F) was developed over a period of years by the team of Creare Incorporated (New Hampshire), H.M. Dunn Company (Texas) and MAG IAS, working with Lockheed Martin, the U.S. Navy Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program Office and the F-35 Joint Program Office (JPO), with funding provided by SBIR program awards. According to Mike Packer, Vice President of Manufacturing Strategy & Technical Integration at Lockheed Martin Aeronautics, “This is a prime example of an SBIR-developed technology transitioning from the research and development phase to a system that can enhance affordability for near-term military projects like the F-35.”

MAG IAS, the largest U.S.-based manufacturer of machine tools, is commercializing the process under exclusive license. Its machine tools are already used by the worldwide aerospace industry for the production of virtually all aircraft. The company also provides a unique portfolio of CYCLO CUT® cutting tools, CYCLO COOL® metalworking fluids, composites processing systems and support services devoted to aerospace manufacturing.

"This is one of the greatest breakthroughs in the history of metalworking and it promises to rewrite the book on machining speeds and costs for difficult to machine materials, which are critical in aerospace, and coming into common use in automotive and general industry applications as well," said Michael Judge, Vice President of Cryogenic Business Development. "In addition to the increases it brings in metal removal rates and tool life, low-flow cryogenic machining is a green manufacturing process that will produce a cascade of additional cost reductions by eliminating, or vastly minimizing, the use of liquid coolants. Liquid nitrogen is a non-greenhouse gas, so it is harmless to the environment, too."

MAG is offering cryogenic tool cooling technology on a range of new machines, including 5-axis and turning systems, as well as providing retrofit systems. The company will also demonstrate five cryogenic machining systems during the EMO show in Germany, September 19-24, 2011, hall 12, booth B60, at the Hanover Exhibition Center.

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MAG adds a new dimension to its universal gantry mills with the new adjustable-rail U6 Series, providing a vertical W-axis to accommodate extremely tall parts. The U6 universal machining center is engineered to bring the lean machining revolution to large, high-value, complex-geometry parts, enabling 5-axis machining and contouring with automatically interchangeable heads to minimize machine downtime, part reorientations and set-ups. The machine's robust construction makes it ideal for heavy, tough cuts in big parts of steel, titanium, crusty forgings or aluminum. Wide application versatility delivers greater throughput and processing efficiencies to "large part" manufacturers in aerospace, off-road and heavy equipment, energy, die-mold, marine and mining.

The U6 can be configured with a massive cross rail (Y-axis) up to 9 m (29.5 ft), while the adjustable W-axis optimizes machine stiffness and provides up to 5 m (16.4 ft) of vertical travel to complement the up to 2.5 m (8.2 ft) Z-axis ram. The combination of WZ- and Y-axes offers a height and width range up to 7.5 x 9 m (24.6 x 29.5 ft) to accommodate machining in the extreme limits of the work zone, or provide clearance to maneuver over extremely large workpieces. The heavy-duty Z-axis ram, with 650 x 750 mm (25.6 x 29.5 in) rectangular cross section, supports multiple head configurations and spindle power options, while linear feed rates up to 20 m/min (787 ipm) enable fast response in heavy cuts on hard metals. The U6 design allows the cross rail to be positioned close to the part for machining with minimal ram extension and maximum stiffness for extreme accuracy. As options, the U6 is offered with a choice of 1 m, 1.5 m, 2 m and 2.5 m rams for best fit to processing needs.

The U6 universal machining center, available in bridge-type and rail-type platforms, is adaptable to accommodate a wide range of part size and shape requirements. The U6B bridge-type gantry utilizes a stationary support and optional X-axis pallet shuttle system that moves the part to coordinates on precision linear guide ways with rack-and-pinion drives for smooth, precise movement at high thrust levels. Available with a broad range of table and pallet shuttle systems, the U6 bridge-type can be equipped for single or multi-pallet operation to maximize cutting time during part load/unload. The U6R rail-type offers unlimited X-axis travel, and is expandable to fit the application.

The U6 can be outfitted with a range of high-torque or high-speed spindles, up to 74.5 kW (100 hp) and up to 24,000 rpm, choice of tapers, and vertical, horizontal or 5-axis head configurations to cover the spectrum of machining requirements. Automatic head change takes less than two minutes, and five-axis and horizontal heads feature continuous C-axis to keep the spindle in-cut without running out of C-axis travel or waiting for unwind. Custom head configurations are also available. Heads store in their own cradle within a separate headstand located just outside the work zone for easy access. Automatic head change can be integrated with a tool storage module to provide auto-positioning changes and minimize cycle time for changing tools or exchanging heads. Tool magazines are expandable, with options for storage for up to 120 tools on the bridge/moving table machine and 63 tools on the rail machine.

The U6 provides superior precision on critical parts with repeatability of 0.038 mm (0.0015 in) in the X axis, 0.008 mm (0.00031 in) the Y and Z axes, and 14 arc second accuracy in C axis. Feedrates up to 20 m/min (787 ipm) optimize processing efficiencies on large part surfaces.

Standard module options include choice of Fanuc or Siemens controls, a bridge/moving table or rail/moving gantry platform, single or dual-spindles, automatic tool change, and automatic head change – making the U6 an ideal, customizable solution for large prismatic part manufacturers looking for heavy-duty manufacturing capacity.

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MAG IAS, LLC's new HyperMach® H-series profiler sets the industry standard for high output machining of large monolithic aluminum or titanium aerospace parts. H-series horizontal machining centers offer a wide choice of spindle speeds and torques to match material requirements for high-speed machining of aluminum, high-torque titanium cutting with the HyperMach GTi, or the wide-range capabilities of the HyperMach Ti, with increased stiffness and a high-torque motorized spindle for applications that require machining both aluminum and titanium. The 5-axis HyperMach H-Series turns the typical profiler concept on its side in a fixed-column, traveling table arrangement available in 2 m x 4, 5, 6, 7 or 8 m. A moving column configuration is available to handle single or nested parts up to 2 m x 20 m. All HyperMach H-series machines are available with optional 3 m wide pallets, increasing the Y-axis travel to 3200 mm (126 in) for range to machine larger parts such as wing ribs, spars, bulkheads and fuselage frames.

For machining aluminum, the H-series features a standard high-speed 30,000 rpm/60 kW/29 Nm spindle. An optional 20,000 rpm/85 kW/85 Nm spindle is also available. The GTi model uses an HSK100A 6000 rpm/52 kW/854 Nm high-torque geared spindle to machine titanium and other hard metals, while the new HyperMach Ti wide-range model handles applications that require machining both aluminum and titanium with a hearty 12,000 rpm/60 kW/250 Nm spindle. The Ti delivers a combination of moderate speed and increased power to enhance cutting performance to machine a broader range of materials for manufacturing flexibility.  

All HyperMach H-Series machines feature a patented full-portal, open-center design, allowing chips to fall through to a high-volume conveyor to avoid chip re-cutting and the need for a blow-off attendant, further improving productivity by reducing labor and parasitic time to keep the machine clean. Programmable, variable high-pressure through-spindle and external coolant system is a standard feature on the GTi version. Pallet load can be from the right or left side, and the chip conveyor can be configured to discharge in either direction. Installation is on a flat floor, which reduces the cost and time required for installation by avoiding the need for pits and expensive multi-step foundations. This makes future reconfiguration of the plant layout easy. Combined with MAG’s CINCRON® cell automation modules, the H-series design allows virtually an infinite number of material handling and cell configurations for extremely flexible multi-machine and multi-pallet part manufacturing.

The HyperMach machine design is covered by four patents, including one for the rigid four-point lockup between the column and table base, which provides consistent stiffness and improved accuracy throughout the work zone. A second patent covers the "flight deck" ergonomics of the operator station. Its layout permits visual monitoring of the machine's HMI, the work zone, the tool change process, tool in the ready position, the tool magazine itself, and utilities panel, as well as immediate physical access to the work zone. A third patent covers maintenance and reliability issues – motors and drives are on the exterior of the machine, away from workzone contamination, and critical drive components, such as ways, bearings, ballscrews, and feedback scales, can be accessed and serviced from the exterior of the machine. A fourth patent covers the pallet handling system, which allows a pallet to be loaded from either or both sides of the machine without any modification to the system, permitting a wide variety of work handling configurations without modification to the machine.

MAG's HyperMach® H-series profilers add range and capacity with new models for high-speed, high-torque and now wide-range aerospace manufacturing applications. Models available for aluminum, titanium, and new wide-range that offer a combination of speed and torque to machine a broader range of soft and hard metals. For greater capacity, all HyperMach H-series models are offered with optional 3 x 4 meter pallets up to 20 meters for capacity to machine an even wider range of aerospace parts, such as massive wing ribs, spars, bulkheads, and fuselage frames.

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