HITHRU Aluminum/Titanium Part Production Deployment

NCMS Project #: 140368

Problem: It is well-known that the Department of Defense (DoD) now sustains current aging weapon systems well past their intended life.  This generates an unpredictable need for repair and replacement of components that are no longer in the supply system.  Defense needs dictate the briefest possible component acquisition times.  Private, non-defense industry does not suffer these constraints to the same degree.  Since mainstream commercial product realization technologies do not provide services designed to support the economic manufacture of these short lead-time, small-lot-quantity orders, it requires the depots to maintain organic capability, including expensive labor intensive design processes, to make these components.

The High Throughput Production Processing of Five- (5) Axis Aluminum Components (HITHRU) project was conceived in 1999 to develop and demonstrate a high-throughput five-axis machining system to program and produce families of 5-axis parts with a minimum of human intervention (programming and trouble shooting).

Benefit: 

Depot

  • Acquisition of proven part production processes will accelerate the successful application and acceptance of this technology.
  • Maintain consistent quality, reduce scrap, and enable longer machine tool and cutter life using this high performance programming and five-axis aluminum machining system.
  • Reduction in the lead time for acquiring repair and replacement components
  • Reduction in the downtime for aircraft requiring replacement components
  • Increase in the available sortie time by returning maintenance aircraft earlier
  • Reduced manpower requirements

Industry

  • Utilization of the existing in-house capability for machining process development will result in additional experience to improve and provide even greater customer satisfaction.
  • Distribution of additional Cimskil™ production licenses and feedback data from development of production parts will improve the product and accelerate the commercial acceptance of this revolutionary, next-generation technology.

Solution/Approach: HITHRU has demonstrated extraordinary NC programming productivity improvements for aluminum parts.  The objective is to deploy these state-of-the-art results into production use at the depot:

  • Utilize the HITHRU infrastructure and capabilities at Cincinnati Machine to produce NC programs and machining process plans for production 5-axis aluminum plate parts for deployment at the depot
  • Show a 50% increase in NC part programming productivity for parts
  • Set a goal of 80% automated and 20% interactive work in producing the programs
  • Demonstrate the production application of the Cimskil™ software for the parts produced, first at Cincinnati Machine, and then at the depot
  • Cut and inspect parts first at Cincinnati Machine
  • Train and support the deployment of part processes and production use of Cimskil at the depot.

DOD Participation:

  • Warner Robins Air Logistics Center

Industry Participation:

  • Cincinnati Machine
  • Technology Answers
  • NCMS