turning spindles as well as an upper and lower turret. The machine’s configuration provides the flexibility for various types of machining and for adapting the different fixturing needed to mount the laser head Currently, Reliance is getting about 30 minutes of cut
time per PCD 30M insert edge when taking a 0.040-ipr (1 mm/rev) depth-of-cut for a 6" (152-mm) long cut. Prior to incorporating the laser system, the insert edge would have failed instantly on making contact with the ceramic mate- rial. Reliance developed its own cutting parameters as far as speeds and feeds. As for the laser, positioning and heat levels are the proprietary specifications of Reliance’s ceramic machining system. “Basically, we went from a zero ceramic cutting capability
to 30 minutes with the Seco inserts,” said Staes. “And while that amount of machining time may not seem like much, as compared to the extensive time and cost involved with diamond wheel grinding, it is a very significant accomplishment.” ME
posites manufacturing services to customers who need access to high levels of engineering and manufacturing expertise with a fast turnaround time. The AS9100C-certified aerospace structure design and development shop specializes in helping large com- panies develop efficient composite manufacturing processes, and providing smaller companies with structures that they would not be able to take on themselves. Typical assignments include component design and manufacturing for commercial aero- space, military aviation, unmanned aerial vehicles, and military vehicles. Soon the company was presented with an unanticipated problem, or as President Scott Bledsoe would rather say, an opportunity. The original Blue Force business model called for subcontracting tooling for composites manufacturing from qualified lo- cal shops. However, frequent design changes from customers, along with the need to produce tooling rapidly for urgent projects, was making it difficult to meet aggressive delivery requests that Blue Force wanted to accommodate. Bledsoe had assembled a lean team
of engineers and technicians with deep experience in component design and manufacturing for commercial aerospace, military aviation, unmanned aerial ve- hicles, military ground vehicles and com- plete aircraft prototyping. “Blue Force” was incorporated into the name because many in the company’s target markets would recognize it as a term denoting friendly forces that can be mobilized quickly to overcome imminent obstacles.