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Why Cryogenic Machining Reduces Titanium Machining Costs for the Aerospace Sector

2019.05.20  cryogenic machiningmachine

In the past decade, the aerospace industry has driven a huge increase in demand for titanium components – from jet engine components to airframe applications, titanium and titanium alloys have enabled a new generation of stronger, lighter and more durable aircraft.

While titanium offers many advantages for aircraft designers, such as good corrosion resistance and strength-to-weight properties, it creates challenges for the manufacturing plants that need to machine it. Variations in chip thickness, springback, residual stress and other material properties all create problems for traditional tooling and coolants (which weren’t designed for the demands of the job).

Newer machining technologies, like 5ME’s liquid nitrogen-based cryogenic machining system, have provided the solution; making it easier and more cost-effective than ever to machine titanium components.

How 5ME Cryogenic Machining Works

5ME’s patented cryogenic technology delivers liquid nitrogen at -321˚ F through the spindle, directly to the cutting edge of the tool. This keeps cutting temperatures much lower and, in turn, makes significantly faster processing speeds possible.

Since most machines can be retrofit with 5ME’s cryogenic system, implementing cryogenic machining into your current operation is also quick and easy, so for manufacturers, the payback has been significant:

・Feed rates increase dramatically, meaning they can cut more material in less time
・Part Quality Improves, as White Layer, Residual Stress, Grain Boundary Distortion, and Burr formation are all significantly reduced
・Tools last longer, which means lower tooling and repair costs, as well as less downtime spent replacing worn out tools

Using liquid nitrogen instead of chemical coolants, also creates environmental benefits – both locally, on your shop floor, and globally, in terms of waste management. Since liquid nitrogen evaporates into harmless nitrogen gas as it warms, there’s no longer any need for dealing with the disposal issues associated with coolants or other toxic chemicals utilized in traditional machining systems.

Lockheed Martin Cuts F-35 Part Costs

With 5ME’s cryogenic system and technological capabilities, aerospace companies have realized a 52% reduction in Cycle Time in Titanium Aerostructure components.Lockheed Martin, for example, has projected a 30% reduction in cost for F-35 titanium structural components as a result of implementing 5ME’s cryogenic machining system.

You can see how it reduced the cost of aerostructure machining at Lockheed Martin in 5ME’s latest case study.