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Walter tooling developments are flying high in aerospace machining

With tools for aerospace machining accounting for an increasing proportion of Walter's turnover, the tooling giant is naturally responding to the industry's seemingly unquenchable thirst for best-in-class production routines – and that includes high-performance cutting tools.

The doubling in the number of large passenger aircraft that utilise new, ever more complex components in difficult-to-machine materials and which are required in shorter production cycle times are factors that add to the constant pressure, says Walter GB's Managing Director Gerry O'Hagan.

"Titanium alloys such as Ti5553 and composites like CFRP – where there is a lack of long-term machining experience - as well as high-speed and five-axis machining, are setting new, higher demands for tooling suppliers," he says. "And Walter continues to respond – with, for example, new drills and boring tools for machining composites. The tools are designed specifically to overcome the 'notching' effect often inherent when, for instance, producing holes in composites."

Tooling for CFRP machining must cut the fibres cleanly, he continues. "If the fibres are torn, there is an extremely high risk of fracture. Other aerospace materials such as titanium, high temperature steel and nickel-based alloys in particular, also place extremely high demands on process reliability and machining quality.

"Walter's response has been to develop new indexable inserts with optimised geometries and coatings, as well as internally cooled solid carbide cutters manufactured from newly developed substrates."

He continues: "The use of aluminium as an aerospace material remains important, although its proportion of use may be reduced - in both the Boeing Dreamliner and the Airbus A350 XWB, aluminium accounts for only around 20 per cent, compared with 50 per cent composites. That said, Walter also continues its tooling developments in this field and is, for example, addressing the demand for optimised/higher quality production with a series of new milling cutters."

Pointing out Walter's constant development of titanium and solid carbide tooling for jet engine components made from titanium alloys, high temperature steel and nickel-based alloys such as Inconel 718, Gerry O'Hagan also adds that tools from the comprehensive ranges of Walter, Prototyp and Titex are proving particularly successful when milling, for example, turbine discs, main landing gear and landing gear beams.

For instance, the new high-performance F4030 Xtra.tec face mill features the new Tiger.tec Silver WKP35S trigon indexable inserts or, alternatively, PVD aluminium oxide Tiger grades WSM35 and WSP45.

Available in initial diameters from 25 mm to 63 mm, F4030 is one of a host of Xta.tec milling tools now available with the new generation CVD-coated Tiger.tec Silver inserts. These promise 50-100 per cent improvements in cutting performance in milling, turning and drilling applications.

The F4030 is typical of the new, high-performance tooling being developed for aerospace machining. Mounted in a 'flat' 0-21° position to encourage feeds per tooth of up to 3.5 mm and at cutting depths of 1 mm, and with six usable cutting edges on each insert to minimise costs, the F4030 is proving ideal for high-speed applications such as angled plunge cutting, plunge cutting and pocket milling as well as face milling, in both dry and wet applications.

"Over the years we have developed a considerable range of tooling for our aerospace customers, as we have done for other major industry sectors, and it is clear that industry-specific 'standard ranges' are now part of Walter's ongoing success strategy."

Press release issued by Walter GB Ltd on August 31, 2010

 

 Contact details from our directory:
Walter GB Ltd Cutting Tools, Drilling Equipment, Boring Equipment, Tooling, Coatings, Milling

 

 Related directory sectors:
Tools
Tooling
Metal Removing
Machining

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