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Drilling, Cutting, & Trimming Composite Parts

  • Drilling, Cutting & Trimming Composite Parts
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Advanced composite materials ranging from carbon fiber, fiberglass, or variations of materials reinforced with plastic, such as FRP (Fiberglass Reinforced Plastics), GRP (Glass Fiber Reinforced Plastics), SMC (Sheet Molding Composite), GMT (Glass Mat Thermoplastic), RTM (Resin Transfer Molding) and D-LFT (Direct-Long Fiber Thermoplastic), are providing remarkable opportunities for weight reduction versus structural strength in the new generation of aerospace and advanced materials products, while at the same time requiring new cutting tool designs, machining head capabilities including 5 axis dust collection, and careful attention to the impact of the dust created during cutting cycles on the machine's components and electronics, and even more importantly to the machine's ambient environment for the operator and the plant in general. CMS' concern for the extraction of this dust within the machine, the prohibiting of its impact to the machine's systems and the prevention of its migration outside the machine, with today's clear concern for the carcinogenic impact of such dust, occupies a major role in CMS' technology development for composites machining. CMS' fast, flexible, productive and highly accurate CNC machining centers are combined with its unique and, in some cases, patented technology for dust extraction, even in 5 axis work, controlling its impact on the machine and eliminating its impact outside the machine.

 

Choose
machine

Moving
table CNC's

FXB - single & double table versions for composites machining

FXB - single & double table versions for composites machining

FXB, CMS' moving table class CNC machining center, covers a wide range of table and working envelop sizes for composite parts' machining requirements: including the placement of large fixtures on the tables, powerful 3 and 5-axis working units equipped with CMS' special dust manifold technology, and high speed, accurate moving systems. FXB's moving tables can be equipped with CMS' gridded aluminum plate surfaces with integrated vacuum, and special quick connection console for compressed air and vacuum for fixture connection, and FXB with CMS' dust collection manifold makes unobstructed rotation of the working unit possible throughout its complete working range, even in 5 axes, and FXB's moving systems provide high accuracy and high speed control for optimum performance.

In the picture to the left can be seen FXB's single table version with high powered 3 axis ATC working unit and aluminum table with quick disconnects for fixtures and pods on the table front; while on the right can be seen FXB's double table version with double independently CNC controlled 3 axis working units with special 4th axis horizontal machining head to the side of each, aluminum tables and quick disconnects.

Monobloc
CNC's

Antares - small footprint, 5 axis, enclosed composites machining

Antares - small footprint, 5 axis, enclosed composites machining

ANTARES, CMS' moving bridge class CNC machining center, is a small footprint, 5-axis, enclosed series, perfectly adapted for machining composite parts. Antares offers a 2600 mm (102.4") X axis, 1500 mm (59.1") Y axis, 1200 mm (47.2") Z axis working envelop, +/- 135° B axis, and +/- 270° C axis. Antares is an ideal beginning point for composites machining requirements with its good sized working cube, 5 axis working unit with 12 kW (16.1 hp) power at 12,000 rpm, 24,000 rpm maximum, S1 rating, optional 6 kW (8 hp) working unit available, full perimeter safety enclosure with automatic opening and closing door system, optional linear and rotary scales, and optional carbon fiber/composite dust protection kit for composites machining work.

In addition Antares can be equipped with CMS' TR system, rotating table, as shown in the photo to the lower left, making it possible to carry out nonstop work cycles, by which the operator can be loading and unloading the table in complete safety, while work is being carried on within the machine. Antares structural design also makes it possible for it to take advantage of CMS' total enclosure system, as shown in the photo to the bottom right, with which Antares closes and seals off its top from the ambient and creates a downdraft to pull any dust inside Antares into the dust extraction system, away from the machine and the operator. Antares makes composites machining work safe, fast and accurate.

 ARES - enclosed 5 axis machining, more options

ARES - enclosed 5 axis machining, more options

ARES, CMS' moving bridge class CNC machining center, offers an expanded range for composites machining work. Ares comes in 3 lengths: 3600 mm, 4800 mm and 6000 mm (141.7", 188.9", 236.2"); and 2 depths: 1800 mm and 2600 mm (70.9" and 102.4"); and has a Z stroke of 1200 mm (47.2"), with a PX5 working unit of 12 kW power (16.1 hp) at 12,000 rpm, 24,000 rpm maximum, S1 rating. Ares comes equipped standard with a central shield, for nonstop work cycles, as well as the option for APC (Automatic Pallet Changing) tables or CMS' TR system (rotating table) to expand the choices for nonstop, protected work cycles. Ares' working unit can also be provided with CMS' special dust hood for 5 axis work, its total enclosure system with downdraft for total dust control, as well as CMS' carbon fiber/composites dust protection kit.

Poseidon K & Cronus K monobloc structure - composites machining

Poseidon K & Cronus K monobloc structure - composites machining

The Poseidon K and Cronus K range of CNC machining centers are each monobloc versions of the larger members of their respective families. Each has a length of either 2600 mm or 4000 mm (102.4" or 157.5"), a depth of 1500 mm (59.1"), a Z stroke of 1300 mm (51.2"), and +/- 110° B axis, +/- 300° C axis (called A and C for the Cronus).

Poseidon's working unit is a KX5 with either 15 kW power (20.1 hp) at 12,000 rpm, 24,000 rpm maximum, S1 rating, or 28 kW power (37.5 hp) at 4,300 rpm, 24,000 rpm maximum, S1 rating, and pneumatic brakes on the B & C axes. Poseidon also is available with optional linear and rotary scales, compressed air through the cutting tool, if required, total enclosure with carbon fiber/composites dust protection kit and dust hood for 5-axis work.

Cronus' working unit is a Torque5 with either 15 kW power (20.1 hp) at 12,000 rpm, 24,000 rpm maximum, S1 rating, or 28 kW power (37.5 hp) at 4,300 rpm, 24,000 rpm maximum, S1 rating, and pneumatic brakes on the A & C axes. Cronus comes standard with linear and rotary scales and is enhanced for high accuracy work with Torque drive technology on the working unit, double opposing linear drives for reduction of backlash to zero, a required heavier structure for higher accuracy demands for sliding ways and torsion stability, and thermic expansion structural mechanisms. Cronus is also available with optional compressed air through the cutting tool, total enclosure with carbon fiber/composites dust protection kit and dust hood for 5-axis work.

Depending upon the composites machining requirement, Poseidon K and Cronus K offer expanded possibilities for power, accuracy and size.

Moving
bridge CNC's

Poseidon - very large, 5 axis, composites machining

Poseidon - very large, 5 axis, composites machining

Poseidon, CMS' moving bridge class CNC machining center, provides a greatly expanded work envelop for composites machining with the possibility of a double bridge, each with a double mast, each with an independently CNC controlled 5 axis working unit, for a total of 4 working units, maximizing size, power, and productivity, along with high accuracy.

Poseidon basic specs:

  • From X axis 2.5 m to 41.0 m (8.2' to 134.5')
  • From Y axis 2.6 m to 8.5 m (8.5' to 27.9')
  • From Z axis 1.3 m to 4.0 m (4.3' to 13.1'), non-telescopic version standard and telescopic versions available where reduced height limitations exist Working units:
  • From PX5 working unit with 12 kW power (16.1 hp) at 12,000 rpm, maximum 24,000, liquid cooled, S1 rating, A axis +/- 120°, C axis +/- 270°
  • To KX5 working unit with 15 kW power (20.1 hp) at 12,000 rpm, maximum 24,000, liquid cooled, S1 rating, A axis +/- 120°, C axis +/- 270°
  • To KX5 working unit with 28 kW power (37.5 hp) at 4,300 rpm, maximum 24,000, liquid cooled, S1 rating, A axis +/- 120°, C axis +/- 270° 16 place tool changing magazine standard, with additional expansion possible

In addition, Poseidon's working units can each be equipped with CMS' patented 5-axis dust collection technology, as well as CMS' total enclosure, as shown in the photo to the right, providing complete control of the ambient air quality.
 

Cronus - enhanced accuracy and power, large, 5 axis, composites machining

Cronus - enhanced accuracy and power, large, 5 axis, composites machining

Cronus, CMS' moving bridge class CNC machining center, provides the maximum in precision, power and performance for composites machining and can be combined with CMS' special fixture holding capabilities, as with Poseidon, to accomplish a range of Aerospace tasks such as CNC controlled setup for composite wing machining, as just an example.

Cronus' defined higher precision provides a reduced work area, in comparison to Poseidon, to maintain control over many accuracy factors including thermic expansion considerations; yet its strokes are still considerable in actual size.

Cronus basic specs:

  • From X axis 2.5 m to 20.5 m (8.2' to 67.3')
  • From Y axis 2.6 m to 5.0 m (8.5' to 16.4')
  • From Z axis 1.3 m to 2.0 m (4.3' to 6.6')
  • A axis +/- 110°
  • C axis +/- 300° Structure:
  • Guide-way axes double opposing servomotors for elimination of backlash
  • Enhanced structural stiffness required for Cronus' ultra-precision characteristics
  • Design elements for elimination of thermic structural growth
  • Included linear and rotary scales for high precision Working units:
  • CMS' Torque5 working unit with either 15 kW (20.1 hp) or 28 kW (37.5 hp) power at 12,000 rpm, maximum 24,000 rpm, liquid cooled, S1 rating, with optional compressed air capability through the cutting tool, incorporating rotary scales for high precision accuracy, high rotational speed, high rigidity, and with high torque drive technology
  • 16 place tool changing magazine standard, with additional expansion possible Dust Control:
  • CMS' optional 5-axis patented dust hood
  • CMS' optional total enclosure for complete ambient dust control CMS' carbon fiber/composites dust protective kit

Note: the photo's to the bottom of this picture show CMS' unique, flexible roof, total dust enclosure, connecting from both sides of the moving bridge to the ends of the machine, and detachable via CNC control command and powered in either direction, to or from, the bridge to permit overhead or end loading.

Images

Carbon fiber components

Carbon fiber components

Carbon fiber components come in a variety of shapes and forms, many of which require complex machining movements and high accuracy. The top picture shows a carbon fiber aerospace structural rib component being machined, and a molded ray dome ready for machining, once it receives the instruction for the next cycle to begin. Carbon fiber serves a range of structural needs, while at the same time adding its own aesthetic.

Large fiberglass parts

Large fiberglass parts

Large fiberglass components are a central part of many construction and engineering designs today. Large format machining with high accuracy and dust control becomes an essential part of the work as well.

 Composite bumpers, doors, roofs, fenders

Composite bumpers, doors, roofs, fenders

Composite materials play a significant role in the development of most automotive components today, such as bumpers, door panels, interior roof panels and fenders. Flexible machining, fixturing with high accuracy, and dust control, are important factors in deciding what type of machine can do the work, something CMS agrees with, and a technological competence which CMS provides its customers.

Large Carbon Fiber structural components

Large Carbon Fiber structural components

A range of carbon fiber applications from aerospace to bridge building depend on large format, high accuracy machining, with control of the carcinogenic dust which can be thrown off in volume during machining processes. CMS provides solutions for all these requirements and concerns.

Carbon Fiber Formula 1 bodies

Carbon Fiber Formula 1 bodies

CMS is proud to be a provider of its composites and carbon fiber CNC cutting technology to such companies as Lola Group, world renown for its engineering, and its high performance components in Formula 1 racing.

Composite Wings

Composite Wings

Composite materials are also providing important solutions for aerospace wing development technology. This photo shows a CMS high precision Cronus class machining center with CMS' FTS (Flexible Table System), capable of CNC controlled setup for curved, shaped wing surfaces, and the edge milling, the metal bushing paint removal and conductivity testing for the wing surface bushings, which are necessary in the wing to draw away static charge buildup, and the interpolated routing of wing surface holes with chamfers, a process requiring the absolute, and immediate, determination of where the surface actually is in space before the depth of the chamfer can be properly executed and interpolated. This Cronus, not only does the work, but executes it concurrently and simultaneously in both of Cronus' work zones. Cronus, just one of CMS' solution for high accuracy, high flexibility and high productivity for aerospace composites requirements.

Videos

Automotive Composite Components machining

CMS presents an overview of various Automotive composite component parts and their machining processes, including: interior components, bumpers, specialty and accessory parts in various materials such as carbon fiber and fiberglass. Processes will be seen which show double headed concurrent 5 axis machining on the same part, double headed concurrent robotic waterjet cutting on the same part, as well as single headed versions executing machining cycles for drilling and trimming both with routing tools and waterjet technology.

Composite airplane wing surface machining

CMS' Cronus CNC machining center is shown machining a composite Aerospace wing surface. Cronus is equipped with CMS' special FTS system (Flexible Table System), whose many vacuum holding pods are adjusted under CNC control to the contour of the wing surface, both for exact height, rotation and angle to meet the wing surface correctly. Cronus has two FTS units, which are both being setup at the same time and permit nonstop, concurrent, production of different wing surfaces at the same time. Cronus performs a special cycle for removing the paint from the wing surface at its metal bushings, which are placed throughout the composite surface, and which are important to draw away static electricity from the wing surface. The bushings have their paint removed in a CNC cycle using a special CMS device which also verifies conductivity during the paint removal cycle. Following this Cronus also performs a special drilling cycle, in which it determines the surface position at each required "chamfered" hole location - not relying on just the theoretical one - with a "real-time" probing and CNC "hole-milling" and "chamfering" operation. A traditional drilling cycle is considered unacceptable for this work since a drilling cycle would break the composite fibers, while an interpolated milling operation does not, and in addition the chamfering needs to be at the correct depth with the wing surface, something which cannot be assured without a probing operation, which in this case occurs just before the hole is machined.

Aerospace - airplane front tank machining

CMS' ARES with APC (Automatic Pallet Changing) tables, and CMS' special downdraft dust collection system for composites machining, is shown processing an aerospace composite front tank sectional panel. The part is placed on a special fixture and the cycle begins with a large saw blade being used in a 5 axis manner to remove the excess flashing from all sides, following which a router bit positioned horizontally is used to trim the side wall height to the correct dimension and then carry out the drilling of the required connection holes along the walls on both sides.

Fiberglass hot tub machining

CMS' ARES with its special downdraft dust collection system and 5-axis working unit with clam shell dust hood, in combination with APC tables, is shown processing fiberglass hot tubs. The cycle includes use of a large saw blade to trim the hot tub's mounting surface flush, followed by routing operations for a number of control and jet openings as well as drilling work for the various required holes. Total cycle time is 5 minutes.

Files

Solutions for Composite Materials Machining
(click folder on the left to download)

 

Composites Parts Machining and Brookhouse Case Study
(click folder on the left to download)