A High-Performance Milling Machine for Aerospace
As the aerospace industry moves toward determinate assembly and ever-tighter
manufacturing tolerances, there is a need for automated, high-precision milling,
trimming and drilling equipment that is specialized for aerospace applications.
Precision countersinking is a common requirement for aircraft parts, but this is
not a process that typical general-purpose milling machines are able to
accommodate without the use of specialty tools such as depth-stop tool holders.
To meet this need, Electroimpact has designed a 5-axis milling machine with
high-speed clamping capability for countersink depth control. A custom trunnion
and head with a quill and an additional clamp axis provide clamping
functionality similar in speed and precision to a riveting machine, while
maintaining the accuracy and features of a conventional machining center. An
additional focus on design for pre-compensation accuracy has allowed the system
to achieve post-compensation path and positioning tolerances that are
competitive with premium milling machines. This combination of capabilities
makes the system well suited for a variety of cutting and drilling processes for
aircraft manufacture. This paper will describe the background and design process
that led to the development of this system, and will provide details on its
capabilities, specifications, and possible applications.