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September 30, 2015 - LASERTEC & ULTRASONIC News 01.2015

ULTRASONIC drilling and milling of turbine components made from Inconel, titanium and CMC

Due to the focused market orientated development of the ULTRASONIC technology, the ULTRASONIC 2nd Generation is now also covering the application of ULTRASONIC assisted milling on metallic, hard to machine materials as well as fiber compound materials.

Thereby nearly the same technological benefits, already known on the ULTRASONIC grinding, can be achieved for effective drilling and milling machining e.g. of engine components made from hardened steel or also turbine blades made from Inconel, titanium or composites. The new ULTRASONIC HSK tool holder is designed more rigidly and enables the generation of increased amplitudes of > 10 µm, which from now on allows the application of tools with defined cutting edges.

The aerospace industry always requires engines to be on the one hand more powerful, but on the other hand also more fuel efficient. This fact has made the usage of fiber compound materials indispensable for the production of jet engines or similar turbine components. The main characteristic of such a turbine component is defined by the material characteristic of the matrix used. Instead of plastics, here ceramics are inserted in order to be integrate also in the “Hot Section” of the turbine, due to their excellent heat resistance. Also in the area of the fan blade and combustor production huge weight-savings could be reached due to the usage of so-called CMC (Ceramic Matrix Compound) materials. Finally, jet engines become lighter and in parallel, the energy input for the active cooling of such components gets minimized. This all results in a reduced fuel consumption.

Due to the usage of the ULTRASONIC technology now also in the field of milling with defined cutting edge, it´s possible to machine materials such as Inconel, titanium or even CFRP much more effectively than by conventional machining methods. Only in the case of CMC, the machining operation is most comparable with a grinding process. CMC is a kind of hard and brittle material. Due to the mechanical overlaying of the tool rotation with an additional movement in longitudinal direction, the process forces can be reduced by up to 40% compared to the conventional machining. This also results in a higher productivity, minimized sub-surface damage and improved surface qualities.

Double tool life during the ULTRASONIC machining of a diffusor flange made of Inconel
Double tool life during the ULTRASONIC machining of a diffusor flange made of Inconel ​​​​​​​