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Small Grinding Machines Deliver Big Aerospace Capabilities

In the case of precision aerospace grinding operations, the size of the components being machined plays a key role, and for smaller aerospace components, less can actually translate to more when it comes to required machine size and features, especially in terms of flexibility and speed.

"Machines specifically developed to grind parts such as smaller blades, vanes and shrouds, as well as power generation components, provide increased flexibility, economy and productivity," said a UNITED GRINDING spokesperson. "And when milling and drilling multitasking capabilities are added to a compact 5-axis grinding machine platform, production flow benefits multiply."

"Maximum efficiency results when parts are processed on appropriately sized and equipped machines. This is why UNITED GRINDING North America offers several configurations of MÄGERLE 5-axis multitasking grinding machines specifically engineered to process aerospace components and other high-value parts," added the spokesperson.

For instance, the MÄGERLE MFP30 was designed to manufacture small blades, vanes and shrouds typically used for the CFM International Leading Edge Aviation Propulsion (LEAP) or the Pratt & Whitney Gear Turbine Fan (GTF). The CFM International LEAP is a high-bypass turbofan produced by CFM International, a 50/50 joint venture between American GE Aviation and French Safran Aircraft Engines.

The company's MFP100 handles medium to large turbine parts, while the MFP50 and MFP51 models accommodate small to medium turbine components.

To facilitate production of smaller components, MÄGERLE developed the compact MFP 30 5-axis grinding machine for these engines and the aerospace industry as a whole. The machine's compact size maximizes space utilization and facilitates smooth production flow.

"For top effectiveness, the MFP 30 machine focuses on the MÄGERLE design elements that have proven successful in the larger platforms," said the spokesperson. "For instance, preloaded ballscrews prevent backlash while hydrostatic wrap-around guideways on the Y-axis provide a dampening effect that helps ensure accuracy and high metal removal rates along with extended tool life."

A space-efficient double-sided servo-driven table dresser accommodates dresser roll lengths up to 307 mm for several separate diamond rolls for different part features. Twin bearings and a servo motor drive facilitate reliable dressing across the entire speed range.

The machine is designed to handle larger parts as well. While the machine's compact size facilitates manual loading of smaller, lighter components, larger components on clamping fixtures can be loaded through the top of the machine using a crane.

Even in compact machines, features that support strength, flexibility and productivity remain critical. Rigid HSK-B80 flange mountings on the MFP 30 support 300 mm x 60 mm x 76.2 mm grinding wheels that enable wide profiles.

The MFP 30's direct-drive 12,000 RPM, 26 kW (from 1,750 RPM) spindle gives power and torque at low spindle speeds for creep-feed and conventional grinding, as well as high rotational speeds for plated CBN grinding, milling and drilling. Critical to such multi-process capability, the MFP 30 features through-spindle coolant for chip evacuation, longer overall tool life, better part surface finishes and higher throughput.

A 12- or 24-pocket automatic tool changer accommodates grinding wheels up to 12" as well as mills and drills. Additionally, a shop can install a measuring probe to check workpiece positioning and dimensions. As a major production advantage, the MFP 30 allows operators to load and unload the tool changer while the machine is in cycle.

Multitasking capabilities make for single-clamping, multi-operation part processing on the MFP 30.

For example, processing a typical turbine blade might involve six operations: grinding two profiles on one side of the blade with a standard corundum wheel; rotating the part in the B-axis to grind two profiles on the reverse side; after a tool change, grinding the shank face on the blade's leading edge follows grinding the shank face on the trailing edge; operation five is grinding a notch with a CBN wheel; and the last operation is milling a pocket with a torus end mill.

"Accomplishing these multiple operations in a single part fixturing reduces cycle time and increases part accuracy over progressive fixtures due to misloading that can occur when moving parts from one station to the next," said the spokesperson.

For specific wheel geometries, as well as milling and drilling operations, NC controls adjust the machine's 2-axis coolant nozzles for optimum positioning. A scrubber nozzle delivers coolant at the same 20 bar pressure as the coolant nozzle. Such integrated wheel scrubbing keeps the wheel clean and sharp to increase material removal rates while reducing wheel wear. A separate system provides delivery of clean coolant, and the optimized coolant system is simple to maintain.

The MFP 30 is equipped with software that specifically addresses turbine grinding applications. MÄGERLE-designed macros further simplify operator responsibilities, including standard cycles for grinding, milling and drilling.

"When choosing grinding systems for certain parts and operations, particularly in the aerospace industry, coordinating machine size and capabilities with component sizes produces multiple benefits," said the spokesperson. "For reduced machining time, fewer set-ups, more efficient shop floor utilization and the ability to respond quickly to frequent shifts in production volume of small parts, smaller really can be faster."

For more information contact:

UNITED GRINDING North America Inc.


Miamisburg, OH 45342


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