Machining parts for the aerospace industry presents many challenges, including the following:
CAM programming is necessary.
Whatever programming method is used, the programming must be optimized to gain efficiencies and to save costs.
Most parts have long machining cycle times.
Parts are tallied in a backward way, as “tool cutting edges per part,” rather than the traditional way of “parts per tool cutting edge.”
And, it’s difficult to change a process once it has been established and proven in production.
Chris Mills, project manager for aerospace for Sandvik Coromant, said these challenges – especially the last one – make it imperative that machining processes are optimized from the start of a program.
“You (machinists) are facing these challenges, and you could be making parts for 15 years. After you make the first part, you have to optimize the program,” Mills said, implying that after optimization, parts should be profitable for the life of the contract.