Aluminum Machining Solutions: The Importance of Uninterrupted Machining
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Aluminum Machining Solutions: The Importance of Uninterrupted Machining
Machining of parts out of aluminum is a competitive business. One segment of the market uses small screw machines where parts are completed in a matter of minutes. Other segments of the market use a range of CNC equipment, and in the case of aerospace parts machining can take up to 8 hours to machine one part. If parts can be machined faster without a reduction in tool life, customer performance will be enhanced. However, in all segments of the market the customer has an unwritten requirement, ‘which is don’t stop my machine’. That means that the chips produced during the machining operation need to be small enough to move cleanly away from the cutting area and not collect up together around the cutting tool. Significant downtime can be experienced if the machine must be stopped and the chips cleared away from the machine before re-starting. Most machining operations are unmonitored. Customers expect to be able to leave the equipment to perform in a mode that is often described as ‘lights out’ manufacturing, where an operator comes back to the machine only to replace feedstock material. Kaiser Aluminum has developed a family of KaiserSelect™ Products in both extrusions and plate designed to keep machines running without the need to stop and clear out excessive chips and stringers. They also have improved dimensional tolerance which helps ensure material will feed into the machine at the required rate. A further enhanced characteristic of this product is the as-machined finish which can often be much brighter than customers previously experienced. KaiserSelect Manifold Bar™ and Aerospace and General Engineering Plate are products developed for improved performance in CNC machining applications. Again the material must perform allowing the machine to run continuously through the cycle without issue. For these applications there is also the additional benefit of the part requiring less post machining work depending on the market. The manifold market requires that there be there are no burrs on the part and there is a re-work operation after machining to remove these, which takes much less time with the KaiserSelect™ product, saving considerable labor costs.