Browse Publications Technical Papers 2023-01-1002

A High-Performance Milling Machine for Aerospace Applications 2023-01-1002

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.


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