Aerospace Shop Adding Cutting Capacity

May 26, 2011
ADIs two new five-spindle machines will raise capability for Airbus 350 and Boeing 777, 787 parts
MAG multi-spindle gantry profilers offer up to five 5-axis spindles on each gantry and are capable of hard metal or aluminum machining, making them a preferred option for aerospace machining. At Aerospace Dynamics International in Inglewood, Calif., multiple gantries with multiple spindles share a common modular rail system that can be expanded to any length.
ADI uses two MAG high-performance U5-1500 universal machining centers with 5-axis heads to cut aluminum, titanium, or composites, including this aft engine cowl for the Boeing 777, and in-house tooling and titanium parts for the F-35.

Aerospace Dynamics International Inc. (ADI), an Irvine, Calif., shop that specializes at designing and producing critical aerospace components, ordered two new five-spindle universal machine centers from MAG to increase its capability for machining titanium parts. ADI is part of The Marvin Group, an aerospace and defense industry specialist that maintains some of the largest and most advanced machining capabilities in the U.S., to support some important OEMs in defense and aerospace markets.

ADI will use its new MAG 5-spindle Ti profilers to increase production of titanium parts for the Airbus A350 and Boeing 787 programs. They are part of a $100-million expansion that has included two MAG U5 universal machining centers, two MC 1600 boring mills, and MAG's Freedom eLOG monitoring software.

The two new machine tools join 32 other machine centers there, including a five-gantry multi-spindle system on 210-foot rail and two, three-gantry multi-spindle systems on 234-foot rails. ADI also is planning to buy two more MAG 5-spindle Ti profilers and two 5-spindle wide-range machining centers with 50-taper tools.

"The new MAG profilers, and others like them in our shop, simply make us more efficient and competitive in the global aerospace machining market," ADI president and CEO John Cave explained. "The key is that we can complete up to five parts per setup, and always have the spindles making chips while new workpieces are being setup in another work zone, which minimizes out-of-cut time.

“In machining titanium, a single-spindle machine is limited to about the same speeds and feeds as our profilers, and even with a fast toolchanger, a single-spindle machine is no match for one that completes five hard-metal parts in the same cycle. We get five parts in the same cycle time that a single-spindle needs for one part,” Cave reported. “That's productivity-enhancing performance that we pass on to our customers."

ADI also purchased tooling and applications support from MAG's Productivity Solutions business.

"We're acquiring these profilers for new work – production of complex assemblies for the Airbus A350," he said. "The work involves a large, complex structural assembly that includes electrical and hydraulic systems. The new profilers are brutes, designed for high metal removal rates with titanium, which further improves our competitive position in pursuing this work."

MAG introduced the Ti profiler four years ago to supply the rising demand from machine shops producing aerospace titanium parts. Its spindle motors are rated for 51 kW (68 hp), with 2,523 Nm (1860 ft lb) torque, and a speed range of 10-3500 rpm. The machines are engineered with a new spindle support housing and an extremely stiff, heavyweight machine structure providing superior damping.

ADI uses 60-taper tools to support efficient roughing and finishing operations. Five, 6-pocket tool exchangers, located at each end of the work zone, and permit five tool exchanges per machine. X-axis motion is powered by rack-and-pinion drives on both rails, while the Y and Z axes are driven by large-diameter ballscrews, with a counterbalance and brake on the Z.

ADI's expansion program includes a new 120,000-sq-ft building that will house a 60,000-sq-ft assembly hall, as well as increased engineering and inspection resources. The company also recently acquired two MAG 5-axis U5 rail-type universal machining centers and two MC 1600 boring mills with pallet shuttles.

MAG develops and produces machine tool and systems for metal cutting and composites applications. Its brands include Boehringer, Cincinnati, Cross Hller, Ex-Cell-O, Fadal, Giddings & Lewis, Hessapp, Honsberg, Hüller Hille, and Witzig & Frank.

MAG’s universal machines are engineered to cut aluminum and titanium with 5-axis contouring heads, and they are designed with continuous C-axis, to keep the spindle in-cut without running out of C-axis travel. "The 5-axis contouring head is a great asset for us," according to Cave. "It provides a balance of agility, speed and power for us to cut aluminum skins for the GE 115 aft engine cowl assembly for the 777, which helped justify the machine. We've also used it in some unique machining of titanium parts for the F-35, A350 and 787, as well as some of our own tooling."

ADI’s U5 machines were supplied with MAG's machine/production monitoring software — eLOG — to maintain overall equipment effectiveness (OEE). eLOG categorizes machine availability into six different areas, and its reports allow rapid visualization of inefficiencies and identification of root causes to facilitate improved utilization.

"Our OEE already exceeds 90 percent, but our manufacturing people are always looking to improve and they expect to achieve 100 percent with this software," according to Cave.

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