From wing spars to door frames, titanium’s use in aircraft components continues to grow as aircraft manufacturers strive to produce lighter, more fuel-efficient wares. Those tasked with machining this popular aerospace alloy might find that as unwelcome news, however, since titanium ranks high on the list of metals that are quite difficult to cut.
Fortunately, cutting tool providers such as Kennametal are addressing this problem with cost-effective technologies that remove large amounts of titanium and other superalloys quickly and predictably. Chief among these is the HARVI™ Ultra 8X helical milling cutter (HU8X), which has raised the productivity bar by removing 1,000cm3 (61in3) of titanium Ti-6Al-4V per
What makes the HU8X different? For starters, it’s extremely stiff. The cutter body is constructed of a special high-strength steel alloy that provides higher rigidity and longer service life than competing solutions. Together with its unique BTF46 (bolt taper flange) connection, the HU8X offers the deflection resistance needed for extreme metal removal in aerospace materials.
Despite its greater stiffness, though, the HU8X’s positive rake geometry actually generates up to 50% lower machining forces than other milling cutters in this class, reducing heat, machine wear, and power consumption. A free-cutting tool also means longer tool life and predictable part surface finish, good things made even better by the presence of strategically-placed coolant orifices throughout the cutter body.
But generous coolant flow is meaningless without ample room for chips, which is why the HU8X flute design has been optimized for maximum chip evacuation during heavy roughing applications.
“Everything about the HARVI Ultra 8X has been specifically developed for titanium machining,” says Tim Marshall, senior global product manager for indexable milling. “Our customers in the aerospace industry have put this tool through the wringer and found that it repeatedly outperforms other brands and styles of