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Home >> Technical FAQs >> efficient use of pcd inserts to machine the air frame


efficient use of pcd inserts to machine the air frame

The air frame acts as an external enclosure for the structure of the aircraft. It is made up of many components that need to be lightweight but also strong and rigid. That is why they are commonly produced with aluminum alloys. In recent times, titanium alloys have also been used because of their light weight and greater strength than aluminum. Titanium alloys are, however, inflammable and difficult to machine due to their low thermal conductivity and the large quantity of heat generated the cutting tool. In addition, carbon fibre reinforced plastic CFRP is used to manufacture air frame parts because of its stability and high tensile strength. It is not susceptible to heat and it is 60 percent lighter than aluminum.

Therefore, using polycrystalline diamond pcd inserts, which can accommodate high operational temperatures, faster cutting speeds, and produce an excellent surface finish on non-ferrous materials, is the best option for economical and efficient machining of air frames. Here is a brief description of the processes involved in the machining of various air frame materials and some recommended pcd inserts to optimize each process.

Aluminum alloys like the A7075 material are used to make components of an aircraft's air frame. The rib-type components made from this material require the removal of a large quantity of metal through milling. Hence, very efficient milling at a relatively high speed is needed to minimize processing costs. Polycrystalline diamond pcd inserts with a positive geometry, wide rake angle, and chip breaker, like the AEGT insert may be used for rough milling. For finish-milling, the APCT insert that has a wiper edge design can be used, with a suitable milling cutter, to create a high quality surface finish.

During rough machining of titanium alloys, it is important to select polycrystalline diamond pcd inserts that have sufficient rigidity to prevent chipping and early damage of the cutting edge. pcd inserts like the ANMU insert that has a negative edge is suitable for roughing and removal of a large amount of material. It also has double chip breakers that can improve the production of chips and ensure that fracturing does not occur due to vibrations during milling. Other inserts that may be used for milling airframe parts made of titanium alloys are the RDMT and RPGG inserts.

Efficient milling of CFRP components can be achieved with pcd milling inserts such as the square-shaped SEGT insert. This positive insert helps to reduce the splintering, delamination, and formation of burrs that occurs when machining CFRP materials. It also improves the efficiency of the milling operation because it permits a higher feed rate than other carbide inserts. Other inserts like the SEMT and SEET inserts may also be used for the initial roughing operation while the WEEW insert can be used for the finish-milling operation.

Polycrystalline diamond pcd inserts offer the best features required to overcome most of the challenges posed by different non-ferrous materials used in the aerospace industry. With pcd inserts, high productivity can be achieved when machining air frame components made with aluminum alloys, titanium alloys, and non-metallic materials such as carbon fiber reinforced plastic.

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