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Aerospace Materials


frequent application of CAM technology occurs in the follow- ing areas: • Trimming of the finished parts (molded parts, tape layup parts, etc.)


• Drilling and fastening • Milling of molds (for either forming or tape layup) • Milling of jigs for trimming • Spraying (fiber chop spray, resin spray, etc.)


Tese operations are performed on a variety of manufactur-


ing equipment including mills, lathes and robots along with specialized systems for material layup (an emerging application area for CAM soſtware and equipment). Here are some of the most recent CAM soſtware developments that impact compos- ites manufacturing with these systems—starting with trimming.


Recent Developments Composite parts cannot be manufactured by laying materi-


als up to the edge of the component because fibers protrud- ing from the material would make for rough edges that are unacceptable in terms of both fit and finish. As a result, efficient external edge trimming is an essential manufacturing step.


Internal trimming is also required to cut openings for doors, windows, and subcomponents such as landing gear and sensor mounts. A great deal of time can be lost unless fixtures and processes used for trimming can be made as efficient as possible because the aerodynamic nature of many composite free-form structures makes them best trimmed using five-axis equipment. Integration with CAD: Efficient trimming operations begin


not by creating five-axis toolpaths but by using the CAD model to develop a holding solution that will allow the cutting tool to reach all of the areas designated for trimming. Tese jigs are created in an iterative process that alternates between creating holding fixture solutions and then simulating tool and machine movements to ensure both secure holding and optimal reach of the tool so that trimming can be performed in one or two setups. When manufacturing process developers find themselves


switching frequently between the CAD and CAM environ- ments to perform successive simulations and design modifica- tions, then it can be very useful to have a soſtware solution in which CAD and CAM can be instantaneously accessed from the same operating environment. For example, Master- cam for SolidWorks (from CNC Soſtware) resides as a menu within the SolidWorks CAD environment. Users can access nearly all of the product’s five-axis CAM function- ality without ever leaving the CAD system. Changes instituted in one mode are automatically recorded in the other because both are work- ing from the same model. Tis approach can streamline develop- ment of fixtures as well as create molds that are used in composites molding and layup processes. Oscillate Five-Axis Toolpath:


New 3D Oscillating Toolpath in Mastercam X7 spreads wear over a long, user-specified section of the tool’s flute, to eliminate tool grooving.


136 Aerospace & Defense Manufacturing 2013


One of the biggest impediments to date in creating efficient five-axis trimming toolpaths has been the problem of tool wear. Composite structures can be very hard and abrasive. What’s more, trimming requires the tool to travel continu- ously along a narrow edge, not only wearing the tool, but also creat- ing a groove in it. A new five-axis toolpath developed specifically for edge trimming continually oscil- lates the tool as it moves along the edge. Tis action spreads wear over a long section of the flute so that the tool wears gradually and the


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