Upgraded aerostructure machining

Upgraded aerostructure machining

As a global technology leader in the manufacture of high-precision machine tools for milling, turning, boring and grinding workpieces in metallic, composite and ceramic materials, the Starrag Group is constantly re-evaluating and enhancing its comprehensive product range. A case in point are a number of upgrades made to the company’s Ecospeed and Ecoforce machines. PES takes a closer look.

The enhancements made to Ecospeed and Ecoforce machines – used predominantly for aluminium and titanium aerostructural component machining respectively – are designed to improve cutting performance in terms of both reduced cycle times as well as the highly consistent production of high-quality components.

The developments include: a more powerful spindle – 150kW for the Ecospeeds – for even higher productivity; enhanced software routines, for example, for optimised chatter control and adaptive jerk feed control on both Ecospeeds and Ecoforces; and new pallet options on the Ecoforce Ti 9 and Ti 13 models to accommodate ever-increasing workpieces sizes, particularly in structural aerospace components.

Starrag is also promoting significant cost benefits through the use of MQL (minimum quantity lubrication) as opposed to conventional flood coolant, with users obtaining at least threefold savings primarily through eliminating the need for coolant-related maintenance and recovery systems.

The use of MQL rather than conventional cutting fluid (on any machine in Starrag’s comprehensive range) is heavily promoted for aluminium machining and it is suggested that if MQL is used at 100 ml/hour, 16 hours/day for six days a week and 50 weeks of a year, the total operating cost of €10,000 seriously undercuts the €30,000 spent on conventional coolant year after year. In addition, the difference in capital investment for the different systems is even greater.

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