Titanium Milling and Automation Bring Efficiency to Aerospace Production

CHALLENGE
Creating complex parts from hard metals is a specialty of JWD Machine Inc. The company, located in Fife, Wash., works with some of the largest aerospace manufacturers in the world.  
 
Working with titanium is challenging and costly, and in order to stay competitive, the company needed to meet three objectives:
   •  To have better metal removal
   •  To increase the tool life
   •  To be able to machine precise, complex features
 
 
SOLUTION
The company purchased several machines to meet its titanium milling requirements:
   •  Two Makino a81M horizontal machining centers
   •  Three Makino PS95 vertical machining centers
   •  One Makino D500 5-axis vertical machining center
   •  Two Makino a61nx horizontal machining centers
   •  One Makino Machining Complex (MMC2)
 
 
RESULTS
The a81M machines have delivered the power and precision needed to hold repeatability of 0.00025 to 0.0005 inches in hard metals. It has helped the company eliminate 80 percent of previous boring operations. In the past, these kinds of speeds and feeds would have damaged tools or shaken its machining platform. Now productivity has been increased by 25 percent, and tool expenditures have been reduced by 15 percent.
 
The PS95 machines have contributed the power and rigidity to handle hard-metal applications with ease. The performance of a 50-taper machine is delivered in a 40-taper package, decreasing cycle times.
 
Similarly, the D500 5 axis vertical machining center has provided the ability to handle intricate features accurately, with improved quality and fewer setups.
 
The two a61nx horizontal machining centers, coupled with the MMC2, have enabled the company to run its titanium milling operation unattended at a lower cost per part. On a job transferred from the company’s other automated system to the a61nx machine, cycle time was decreased nearly 70 percent. Additionally, employees have been redeployed to other areas of the shop to further increase JWD’s efficiency.