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Cutting aircraft lead times, assembly costs is the goal.

Cutting time in half! Yes, there's the potential to cut the cost and time it takes to assemble a commercial aircraft in half. Partnering Kennametal Inc.'s (Latrobe, PA) proprietary, high-performance tools with Spanga, Sweden-based Novator AB's drilling equipment and expertise in orbital drilling could do just that.

Current practice in aircraft/aerospace assembly call for drilling numerous holes in alloys or composite materials. Traditional push-drilling involves driving the point of the drill through either aluminum or a stack of laminated materials. Burrs or delamination can be created both in the exit holes and within the laminate stacks and as a result, aircraft manufacturers often assemble parts, drill holes, disassemble parts, clean, and deburr the holes, then re-assemble them prior to final fastening. Hole size is determined by a specific tool size, so many tools are required and there are a limited number of times such a tool can be reground for precision use.

Here is where Novator's patented orbital drilling technology comes into play. It combines the spinning of the drill on its own axis with a mechanical spindle that rotates eccentrically around a principal axis. These dual high-speed rotations have the effect of feeding the tool through the material rather than pushing it. Axial forces are substantially reduced compared to conventional drilling since this process eliminates a stationary tool center. The tool's cutting edge is only partially and intermittently engaged with the material surface, so heat buildup is minimal. Orbital motion also allows the tool diameter to be smaller than the hole, which makes for efficient chip and heat extraction. Furthermore, one tool can be used to create holes of different diameters, significantly reducing inventory and tool management compared to conventional drills.

Developed specifically to complement Novator orbital drilling machines, Kennametal has developed a series of high-performance tools with proprietary geometries, substrates, and coatings. "With advanced technologies, advanced materials, a global footprint, and significant research and development in aerospace and defense," says Francois Gau, global segment manager, Aerospace and Defense at Kennametal, "Kennametal is the ideal partner for Novator to globally deliver and support a complete holemaking solution to aircraft manufacturers worldwide. We firmly believe these technologies together have the potential to reduce aircraft assembly lead time and costs by 50 percent or more." Kennametal, Inc.,; Novator AB,
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Title Annotation:cutting tools & tooling
Publication:Tooling & Production
Date:Jan 1, 2006
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