Advanced Technology in Future Metal Cutting for Airframe Manufacturing 2002-01-1515
Metal cutting is a substantial constituent of airframe manufacturing. During the past several decades, it has evolved significantly. However, most of the changes and improvement were initiated by the machine tool industry and cutting tool industry, thus these new technologies is generally applicable to all industries. Among them, few are developed especially for the airframe manufacture. Therefore, the potential of high efficiency could not be fully explored.
In order to deal with severe competition, the aerospace industry needs improvement with a focus on achieving low cost through high efficiency. The direction of research and development in parts machining must comply with lean manufacturing principles and must enhance competitiveness.
This article is being forwarded to discuss the trend of new developments in the metal cutting of airframe parts. Primary driving forces of this movement, such as managers, scientists, and engineers, have provided significant influence to this trend. However, there are other factors, which have also influenced the trend. They are the related technologies in the field. The influence could be negative and positive, i.e., they could be both constraints and enablers.
The changes in the airframe design will be discussed in the paper. It lists the possible directions of changes to lay a background of the future industry. In airframe business, design and manufacturing influence each other by providing each other with both constraints and enablers.
Airframe manufacturers produce parts and components in relatively large sizes and with low rigidity. These characteristics require special ways of material handling and dedicated fixtures to ensure the precision and cutting efficiency. High efficient and high precision machining should be the goals for the next generation of machining of airframe manufacturing.
In order to achieve goal of high efficiency and low cost, the industry needs new methods and new machines. It requires the initiative from the manufacturers and the cooperation from machine tool industry to accomplish these goals. The new machining methods will need new technologies. Research and development are essential for new methods. This article will try to explain the relationship between the needs and goals.