Farnborough International Airshow 2018

Visitors to the Farnborough International Airshow this year will be able to discuss on a single stand the merits of using top-quality CNC turning, prismatic metalcutting and grinding equipment from eight different machine tool builders in Germany, as well as additive manufacturing equipment from France capable of highly consistent production of components in large volumes. It is because Kingsbury is sole sales and service agent for all of them in the UK, Ireland and the Middle East.

The machine tool producers are Index and its subsidiary, Traub, which offer CNC single- and multi-spindle lathes; Hermle, which builds 3- to 5-axis machining centres; and four large prismatic metalcutting machine manufacturers, BURKHARDT+WEBER, F Zimmermann, SHW and Waldrich Coburg. The latter machine ranges are handled by Kingsbury’s Large Prismatic Machines (LPM) division in Warwick.

At the beginning of 2017, Kingsbury set up a new Grinding Technology (GT) division in its Warwick office following the company’s appointment as agent for grinding machine manufacturer, Haas Schleifmaschinen. Use of the grinders is strong in the aerospace industry, particularly in the competitive field of turbine blade tip and root grinding.

In early 2018, the supplier’s product portfolio was extended further by its appointment as exclusive distributor for AddUp, a joint venture owned by two giants of French industry, Michelin and the Fives industrial engineering group. It takes Kingsbury into a new area, as it is now able to offer production solutions based on powder-bed additive techniques that Michelin has developed over the past 15 years for production of tyre mould inserts.

Richard Kingsbury, managing director of Kingsbury said, “We are delighted to be able to showcase our full range of top-quality German machine tools at Farnborough and to be able to introduce our additive manufacturing division’s capabilities.

“Senior representatives will be on our stand to engage commercially and technically with managers and engineers in the aerospace manufacturing sector.

“Right across the range of applications and component sizes, from a few millimetres to tens of metres, we can offer turnkey solutions that are optimised to a user’s requirements, with full support every step of the way.”

He mentioned some of the highlights being promoted this year. For example, a little-known benefit of F Zimmermann’s high-speed, portal machining centres is the option to fit a patented M3 ABC 3-axis head. Full 6-axis CNC machining may be undertaken continuously because the ± 15 degree B-axis avoids the pole position problem of traditional 2-axis A/C rotary-tilt heads, whereby when A is at zero degrees it cannot move.

The M3 ABC can swivel, tilt and incline to any angle, significantly reducing machining times as well as improving component surface finish, as cutter chatter on the surface of a component due to excessive C-axis movements is eliminated. As a result, a cavity with sloping walls in an aluminium aerospace component can be machined between 30 and 40 per cent faster – a massive productivity advantage.

BURKHARDT+WEBER and Kingsbury have used the latter’s experience in machining titanium airframe parts to develop this side of the German machine builder’s business. With pallet sizes ranging from 630 mm to three metres, the structure of the machines is perfect for titanium machining due to the high torque on the spindle and rotary axis, stable build, large working envelope and the ability to automatically exchange long tools.

In the realm of smaller machining centres with working volumes up to 1.4 m3, Hermle enjoys considerable global success as a supplier to the aerospace sector. The trunnion design and 5-axis configuration of its machines allow, for instance, efficient automated milling of radii or chamfers on edge features of aero engine parts. Traditional dressing by hand is labour intensive, time-consuming and tends to produce variable results.

Removal of sharp edges with a milling cutter eliminates possible stress points, takes away material that could otherwise detach and cause blockage or wear, improves a component’s appearance and promotes safe handling. Titanium aerospace components can be profiled so that edge radii are within ± 25 microns and surface finish is better than Ra 0.8.

AddUp AM machines are supplied into aerospace supply chains in France and the US, serving Airbus and Boeing respectively. The service provided encompasses detailed feasibility and profitability studies, choice of materials for AM, product optimisation if necessary to modify shape, weight and/or function, design of customised production plant, process simulation and qualification, delivery of the AM equipment, support for quality control, post-processing advice and training.

The manufacturer will continue to develop its 3D printing technology under a program known as SOFIA (Solutions pour la Fabrication Industrielle Additive métallique) and has planned a six-year research programme to develop the entire metal AM value chain. There will be a particular focus on the aerospace industry to improve metal powders, machines, energy sources and processes.