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Honeycomb Cutting in Aluminum or Nomex ®

  • Honeycomb Cutting in Aluminum or NomexÂ
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The development of a multitude of honeycomb based products indicates its highly successful application for components requiring a high strength to weight ratio along with energy absorption considerations, and the range of materials in which it is now made, spanning impregnated papers, to various metals, fibers and plastics, demonstrates its continued future importance for designers and manufacturers. CMS brings together its proven CNC machining center technology, "know-how" and real world experience to apply the results of today's current advances in cutting tools and high frequency applications to ensure the optimum combination and outcome for today's advanced materials manufacturer.

 

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Applications

Some significant applications for the diverse range of honeycomb based materials include the following:

  • aluminum honeycomb - used in aircraft floors, the leading and trailing edges of aircraft or missile wings, fuel cells and fan casings, fuselage components, rotor blades of helicopters, bulkhead joiner panels, energy absorption applications, directional air or light flow
  • stainless steel honeycomb - used in train doors and floors, joiner panels, bulkheads, hostile environments
  • aramid fiber honeycomb - used in ship panels, boat decks, ship and plane galleys, flooring, military shelters, auto racing bodies, boat and marine hulls, panels for train cars, and other structures for surface transportation and antennas
  • polycarbonate honeycomb - used in radomes, grilles, wind tunnels, skylights, energy absorbing structuresand much more...  

Monobloc
CNC's

Antares - Flexible, high speed, 5-axis machining for honeycomb work

Antares - Flexible, high speed, 5-axis machining for honeycomb work

Antares, CMS' moving bridge class CNC machining center, is a perfect small footprint solution for the wide range of honeycomb machining applications and their diverse materials.

Antares provides a compact work envelop with full, free form, 5-axis capability:

  • with stokes of 2600 mm (102.4") X axis, 1500 mm (59.1") Y axis, 1200 mm (47.2") Z axis, +/- 135° B axis and +/- 270° C axis,
  • its working unit comes with either a 6 kW (8 hp) power spindle at 18,000 rpm, 27,000 rpm maximum, S1 rating, liquid cooled, or a 12 kW (16.1 hp) power spindle at 12,000 rpm, 24,000 rpm maximum, S1 rating, liquid cooled having a standard steelwork flat table with threaded hole grid or optional phenolic multilayer or aluminum gridded vacuum table, as well as vacuum table with steel t-slots.

As seen in this photo, Antares, as well a coming with CMS' standard full perimeter protection system with automated opening and closing doors, which provides complete safety for the operator while the machine is working, can also be provided with CMS' special TR system, Table Rotating, which makes it possible to carry out nonstop work cycles. While Antares is carrying out its work cycle, the operator is free to load and unload parts outside the work envelop; when his work is finished he presses the "ready for next cycle" button, letting Antares know it may rotate the table when it has finished its work and begin the next cycle, a methodology providing a small foot print for fast nonstop work cycles and complete safety for the operator while doing his work and observing the machine.

The picture also shows the use of a new generation of cutting tools, which rivals all traditional methods for honeycomb cutting. The unique cutting tool design is shown to the right and the results at the bottom. The cutter's work results in a "fuzzless" cut line on a sloping nonlinear surface, a perfect cut line done at high speed, leaving the part clean and without dust contamination problems.

 ARES - additional options for machining honeycomb

ARES - additional options for machining honeycomb

ARES, CMS' moving bridge class CNC machining center, provides a next step in the range of available work envelop sizes, as well as additional options, for machining honeycomb materials.

ARES has a range of work envelop sizes, all having a full, free form, 5 axis capability:

  • X axis 3600 mm (141.7"), 4800 mm (188.9") or 6000 mm (236.2")
  • Y axis 1800 mm (70.9") or 2600 mm (102.4")
  • Z axis 1200 mm (47.2")
  • +/- 120° B axis and +/- 270° C axis
  • CMS' PX5 working unit with 12 kW (16.1 hp) power spindle at 12,000 rpm, 24,000 rpm maximum, S1 rating, liquid cooled, or optionally equipped with 6 kW version (8 hp) power spindle at 18,000 rpm, 27,000 rpm maximum, S1 rating, liquid cooled
  • CMS' standard steelwork flat table with threaded hole grid or optional phenolic multilayer or aluminum gridded vacuum table, as well as vacuum table with steel t-slots
  • waste conveying chutes on the back and both sides of the table for easier cleanup central protection divider, for nonstop work cycles and independent control of vacuum and compressed air for either side

ARES also offers, in addition to the TR (Table Rotating) nonstop cycle option for the 3618 version, APC (Automatic Pallet Changing) tables for unobstructed nonstop load and unload cycles from 3 sides of the table, CMS' unique dust hood for 5-axis work, as well as ARES total enclosure system with downdraft capturing and controlling dust that might otherwise be released into the ambient.

Poseidon K - monobloc moving bridge, more power and high precision options

Poseidon K - monobloc moving bridge, more power and high precision options

Poseidon K, CMS' moving bridge class CNC machining center, brings additional options for more power and precision for the machining of honeycomb materials. Poseidon K, the monobloc version of CMS' heavy duty, large format machining center series, has the benefit of a mid-range component format in several envelop sizes, as well as CMS' heavy duty KX5 working unit technology and, when needed, Poseidon K can be equipped with linear and rotary scales for higher precision. Poseidon K is also available with CMS' TR option (Table Rotating) for protected, high speed nonstop work cycles.

Poseidon K, with monobloc frame, is available with:

  • 2600 mm (102.4") or 4000 mm (157.5") X stroke
  • 1500 mm (59.1" Y stroke
  • 1300 mm (51.2") Z stroke
  • +/- 110° B axis
  • +/- 300° C axis rotation, as well as pneumatic brakes on the B & C axes for increased rigidity when not interpolating CMS' KX5 working unit, choice of two high performance power levels, either the 15 kW (20.1 hp) power at 12,000 rpm, or the 28 kW (37.5 hp) power at 4,300 rpm, maximum 24,000 rpm, liquid cooled, S1 rating

Moving
table CNC's

FXB - moving table version for honeycomb machining

FXB - moving table version for honeycomb machining

FXB, CMS' moving table class CNC machining center, provides a wide range of available sizes and options for fixed bridge, moving table, full, free form, 5-axis machining of honeycomb materials.

FXB is available in single or double table versions, working separately or in unison, as needed (slaved), with single or multiple 3 to 5 axis working units, such as CMS' ATC (Automatic Tool Changing), both 3 axis and 5 axis, versions, 3 axis linear spindles, R8 revolvers (8 position revolvers), capable of simultaneous, concurrent work on the same table or independent work on separate tables executing different programs at the same time.

FXB also has a wide range of table sizes and work envelops (nominal measurements in feet, width x depth):

  • single table - 6 x 5, 8 x 5, 10 x 5
  • double table - 4 x 5, 6 x 5, 8 x 5, 10 x 5
  • extended depth: in addition to the standard 5' table depth, each table width is also available in the following depths - 7', 8' and 10'
  • all tables are provided with an extra stroke of approximately 800 mm (31.5"), permitting the tables to move beyond the fixed frontal safety protection. In addition to making loading / unloading easier, it provides complete safety for the operator; the extra stroke also increases the work area available in the Y axis direction.
  • full extraction: each table version is also available with an extended Y axis to permit full extraction of the tables beyond the protection barrier and allows for a nonstop cycle with load / unload operations. and a range of Z axis heights, depending upon the working unit, from 300 mm (11.8") to 1200 mm (47.2")

Moving
gantry CNC's

 MBB - moving gantry for honeycomb machining

MBB - moving gantry for honeycomb machining

MBB, CMS' moving gantry class CNC machining center, is a flexible, compact format for machining long, even wide, honeycomb components, while at the same time permitting nonstop work cycles on parts which may be placed in its individual work zones.

MBB's table sizes, working units and work envelop ranges from:

Tables:

  • 1T (LxW) - 3500x1530 mm (137.79" to 60.23") to 9800x1530 mm (385.82" to 60.23")
  • 2T (LxW) - 3500x1950 mm (137.79" to 76.77") to 9800x1950 mm (385.82" to 76.77")
  • 3T (LxW) - 3500x2450 mm (137.79" to 96.45") to 9800x2450 mm (385.82" to 96.45")
  • 4T (LxW) - 4200x2750 mm (165.35" to 108.27") to 9800x2750 mm (385.82" to 108.27") Working units configured as a single or in multiples:
  • ATC (Automatic Tool Changing), 3 axis
  • Linear Spindle groups, 3 axis
  • Revolver unit(s) 8 independent spindle positions, type R8, 3 axis
  • 5-axis tool changing units, PX5, RX4 (4 position revolver, one with an ATC position) and TUCU (continuous C axis), versions with multiples upon request the Z axis for these working units, depending on the specific type and combination, ranges from 300 mm (11.8") to 770 mm (30.3")

All MBB versions are equipped with a waste conveyor below the work plane. In addition to the dust hood for each working unit, the safety structure around the bridge is also designed to permit scrap generated during machining to be conveyed onto the waste conveyor. 

Note: MBB is also available in a rail and pod/clamp version, as well as a moving vacuum belt.

Moving
bridge CNC's

Poseidon - large format, multiple component honeycomb machining

Poseidon - large format, multiple component honeycomb machining

Poseidon, CMS' large format, moving bridge class CNC controlled machining center, makes possible the machining of very large honeycomb components, even more than one at a time, with higher power, when needed, and additional options for higher accuracy.

Poseidon Strokes:

  • 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°, B 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°, B 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°, B axis +/- 270°
  • 16 place tool changing magazine standard, with additional expansion possible Poseidon's working units can each be equipped with CMS' patented 5-axis dust collection technology, as well as CMS' total enclosure for Poseidon

Poseidon's heavy structure and conceptual design also mean that, when required, Poseidon may be equipped in a double bridge version with each bridge provided, if needed, with a double Z mast, making it possible to have up to 4 independently CNC controlled working units executing work cycles at the same time. Where increased accuracy is required, Poseidon can also be equipped with linear and rotary scales.

Images

Honeycomb - a variety of materials for a wide variety of applications

Honeycomb - a variety of materials for a wide variety of applications

This photo give an idea of the varying structures and variety of materials in which honeycomb is produced including aluminum, stainless steel, aramid fiber, polycarbonate and more, covering a range of uses and applications such as: aircraft floors, leading and trailing edges of aircraft or missile wings, fuel cells, fan casings, fuselage components, rotor blades for helicopters, bulkhead joiner panels, energy absorption applications, directional air and light flow, train doors and floors, ship panels, boat decks, boat and aircraft galleys, flooring, military enclosures, auto racing bodies, boat and marine hulls, panels for train cars, radomes, grilles, wind tunnels, skylights, and much more.

Clean, "fuzzless" cutting of aluminum and Nomex® honeycomb materials

Clean, "fuzzless" cutting of aluminum and Nomex® honeycomb materials

This photo shows several examples of 5-axis machining of Nomex® and aluminum honeycomb core using the latest generation of special cutting tools developed for honeycomb machining applications. A close up picture of the cutting tool was shown in the product's section and, as can be seen in this picture, its use results in a clean, "fuzzless" cut surface.

 Shaped honeycomb core components

Shaped honeycomb core components

This honeycomb core component has been molded into this 3D form and is ready to receive its machining work. The part is being held by vacuum on a specially designed fixture for that purpose.

 Sandwich panel fabrication with honeycomb

Sandwich panel fabrication with honeycomb

Honeycomb materials are used in sandwich panel construction, as shown here, yielding a very high strength to weight ratio. CNC machining provides both the preparation of the core prior to sandwich lamination and final machining after lamination to complete the component.

Honeycomb cutting - burr free, fuzzless, clean cutting of complex components

Honeycomb cutting - burr free, fuzzless, clean cutting of complex components

This photo shows several different honeycomb components being machined by CMS with the new generation of special honeycomb routing tools. As can be seen, whether aluminum, or a resin impregnated paper, the cut surfaces are clean and free of fuzz. The component in the lower right, shows the difference between outside edges cut with traditional cutting tools, which were used to blank out the core prior its being placed on the machining fixture, and the clean cut resulting from the special cutting tool which looks like a inverted "valve" stem, this special honeycomb cutting tool was manipulated around the edge of the slot to create a relief cut.

Honeycomb - high frequency cutting

Honeycomb - high frequency cutting

As shown in this photo, high frequency cutting of honeycomb is another well established and accepted method for its machining. CMS also provides high frequency honeycomb cutting equipment for its CNC machining center solutions.

Videos

Machining of 7# honeycomb Kevlar

This video shows a demonstration on CMS' ARES, CNC controlled 5-axis machining center, with the new generation of specially developed cutting tools for honeycomb machining applications. The material is a 7# Kevlar honeycomb, several inches thick. The machining process is done with an initial roughing pass, followed by a finishing pass. Machining feed speeds reach up to 2,000 ipm, where possible. The initial pass though fast, shows that with traditional cutting tools a rough, burred surface will result, an unacceptable finish, regardless of whether the geometry is acceptable. The finish pass shows the use of AMS Corehog's unique and specially developed cutting tools for honeycomb applications. The results are flawless, with clean, fuzz free surfaces, generated on a complex 3D surface, carried out with a 5-axis program execution. The surface is more than acceptable and free from problems of clean up and concerns of dust in the cells.

Honeycomb frame structures - machining and special tools

CMS' ARES is used to trim honeycomb frame structures. In this video, the honeycomb components have already been roughed out in a separate process (which resulted in a fuzzy looking surface on those edges) and placed on their fixtures for trimming with a special inverted "valve" stem cutter. The cutter performs a number of trimming and slicing operations around the edges and along the surface of the components in a tilted or vertical fashion, as the need may require, even creating a rounded corner along the edge from the surface to the side of the component. The surface result is perfect, without burr or fuzz and without dust or cleanup concerns where the trimming has been done.

Files

Aerospace, CNC solutions
(click folder on the left to download)