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Besides helping the company standardize, Seco gives the


shop immediate access to the latest tooling advancements— new geometries, carbides, substrates and coatings—to help increase machining speeds and feeds to further shorten part- cycle times. For example, Seco tooling, in addition to other tactics, was instrumental in helping to remove about 26 hours of processing time for a particular job that wasn’t proving as profitable as the shop had hoped it would be. One of the Seco tools introduced was the TS2000 insert


that allowed Gentz Aero to boost its sfm feed rates by almost 40%, an increase that translated into a 25% reduction in machining cycle time. Machining was a huge portion of the overall part processing time for that particular job. Designed specifically for superalloys and titanium alloys,


TS2000 inserts feature a new edge preparation process that provides superior edge integrity and improves the adhesion between the tool’s substrate and coating. Tis ensures consis- tent high-quality performance and superior surface finishes, while allowing for faster cutting speeds and feeds. Plus, Seco’s unique PVD coating on the TS2000 inserts prevents plastic deformation to further extend the tool’s life. Practically any amount of machining cycle-time reduc-


tions can prove monumental for Gentz Aero, especially when machining an Inconel part that starts out weighing 225 lb (101 kg) and aſter machining weighs only 15 lb (6.75 kg). Or when it machines an aluminum part that weighs 2200 lb (990 kg) and finishes at about 60 lb (27 kg). With so much metal removal, it’s no surprise that machin-


ing cycle times can range from one to 15 hours. On top of that, parts can involve anywhere from five to 150 operations with the longest being a 20-hour milling process. It should be noted that this particular 20-hour milling time was previously much longer. Seco worked with Gentz Aero in the past to get it down to that amount of time. In fact, that was one of the first jobs the shop worked on with Seco. Over the past five months Gentz Aero, together with Seco,


reviewed over 19 jobs/products involving 97 operations and was able to reduce cycle times for 93 of those with tooling changes— that in addition to toolholding and other equipment changes. “Basically, we are revisiting all our programs and clean-


ing up the tooling so to speak,” added Rafal Blaszkiewicz, programming supervisor at Gentz Aero. “We are also looking closely at part designs to figure out where we might combine tooling. For instance, there have already been several instances where we’ve gone from having to use five different diamond- shaped inserts to just one trigon or square-shaped Seco insert that, in addition to that, helps conserve cutting edges for longer tool life.” Besides cycle time reductions, Gentz Aero was able to


improve upon machine changeover and part setup times through standardized tooling. One of the first such major efforts involved the shop’s vertical turning lathes (VTL) where


setup times were outrageous, according to Mike Larry, project engineer and NPI (new product introduction) team leader at Gentz Aero. “When you run small job lot sizes like we do, fast setups


can be the difference between being profitable on a job or taking a loss on it,” said Larry. “We re-evaluated over 250 part programs within approximately 20 different jobs to see where standard tooling could be applied to the VTL cells. From that, we established 12 standard tools and only eight specials with which we would equip each of our VTLs. Tis much standard tooling, along with the custom fixturing we use, allows us to quickly and easily set up our larger parts on the VTLs.”


Fixture Fixes As with standardized tooling, part fixtures are critical to


Gentz Aero’s machining operations and the shop stocks well over 1000 of them. In addition to contributing to faster setups and easier, more accurate part repositioning, fixtures help locate part diameters and faces and provide support where part features are thin and may move during machining. Te fixtures also help prevent part distortion that can result from removing large amounts of workpiece material. Gentz Aero’s goal is to use as few specialty tools as possible,


and it continues to work with Seco to accomplish that. Larry said that already many of the machines in the shop’s cells have been re-equipped with as much of the same standard tooling as possible. “For our cells, we look at part families and sizes involved.


Ten we determine the necessary sizes and types of stan- dardized tools that would work for all those various parts,” explained Larry. “Tese tools will then remain loaded in the machine tool magazines, thus allowing us to run more parts through the cell because over 75% of the machine’s tools are already loaded for every part it will run. So, basically tooling setup time becomes a nonfactor when changing over from one part to the next.” Working with Seco is definitely an ongoing process for


Gentz Aero, and the shop has many more projects and opera- tions targeted for tooling evaluations. “We currently have a core group of parts and a team designated for improving the processing of those parts,” said Bartolomei. “As the mix of parts in that core group changes, hundreds, if not thousands, of additional operations will have to be evaluated for pos- sible improvement. Plus, as new cutting tool technologies are developed, we’ll have to revisit those operations that were already evaluated to see if they can be further improved again with that new tooling, and for that, we will rely on help from Seco as well.” ✈


This feature edited by Yearbook Editor Michael Anderson from information provided by Seco Tools.


Aerospace & Defense Manufacturing 2013 77


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