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Taiwan Machine Tools | May 23, 2017

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Taiwan-made machine tools for the aerospace industry

Taiwanese machine tool manufacturers are actively involved in the global aerospace supply chains, providing high-performance machines and equipment. They have been an integral part of an export-driven economy for the past five decades. Their turnkey solutions are widely acknowledged. Taiwan-made machine tools made for the aerospace industry are customized to meet the needs of specific subsectors.

Turnkey Solutions

For years Taiwanese machine tool manufacturers’ turnkey solutions have been attracting a lot of interest at international trade fairs held all over the world. Of late makers are focusing on development of programmable customized production lines. They now provide turnkey solution support service so machine tool purchasers no longer need to place time, energy, and valuable resources to rearrange their planned plants and systems.

More and more machine tool suppliers nowadays offer workpiece processing service to potential customers. By doing so prospective customers are able to assess immediately if the machine they will be purchasing is capable of performing the tasks required. This kind of service is offered by many Taiwanese machine tool manufacturers.

Taiwanese suppliers are also skilled at offering optimal turnkey solutions for manufacturers. Some are even capable of helping their customers deal with machining issues from the onset; that is from the design of cutting tools to the in-house workpiece processing service and the final turnkey solution.

The KA-200 Five-axis Machine Center is one of the prime examples of how Taiwanese suppliers are able to deal with processing issues for their customers. In the beginning the machine was just a cutting tool. But since customers kept asking the supplier about various processing issues, its maker thought of making workpieces using their in-house machines. Soon, an in-house trial workpiece processing service was developed. From there the VDI 3441-certified KA-200 has been sold to different markets worldwide.

Its application in the aerospace industry is why the KA-200 is so famous. Since its maker can arrange the entire processing procedure, from tool design to turnkey solution, customers like Aerospace Industrial Development Corporation (AIDC) and GE have entrusted them with development of machine tools for use in the manufacture of critical aerospace components and parts. Parts processed by the KA-200 include the engine combustion liner made by GE, which is of Hastelloy material, as well as titanium glass mounting brackets for SIKORSKY helicopters, and tail stabilizer parts of AT 3 aircraft trainers.

Advancements in the KA-200 revolve mainly around the five reinforced axes. The in-built A-axis and C-axis are driven by direct-drive motors, offering stable and accurate linear motion transmission. Since all axes are driven by linear motors, 5 m/s2 of high acceleration and 40 M/min of high feed rates are guaranteed. These outstanding features assure not only the highest machining accuracy, but also the shortest moving time. The design of the C-axis is meant to strengthen the 5-axis milling and vertical turning applications. This is more cost-effective thanks to the integration of milling and turning functions. The spindle produces maximum torque output of up to 380Nm. The maximum spindle speed is 8,000 rpm in combination with 53 kW of driving power. Together with a rigid swiveling head, the KA-200 offers utmost flexibility and extensive range in machining.

The KV-720 three-axis machine center is designed to meet the aerospace machining standards. It has been adopted by AIDC to produce BD 100 components which are common in the aerospace industry. It is also included in BOEING’s supply chain for wing parts. Both the KA-200 five-axis machine center and the KV-720 three-axis machine center are very popular in the aerospace industry.

 

Meanwhile, the extra-large, double-column SD-36080-5F machine center has successfully penetrated the global airlifter supply chains. The extra-large five-axis double-column CNC machine center in particular supports various machining demands.

 

Its designer stated that since the machine is designed to support various processing demands of the aerospace industry, the wide working space allows large workpiece machining of different shapes. The X/Y/Z axes are 8,000+AHC/ 3,600+650/ 1,500 mm, and the distance between spindle nose and working table is 466-1,966mm. The size of the working table is 8,000×2,800 mm, and the heavy duty spindle box size is 550×550mm, which enable faster machining with high efficiency. The prolonged automatic working head is 500mm in length with a 90 degree swivel range, making the SD-36080-5F a mainstay in the aerospace industry.

 

Apart from the various machine tools developed by domestic suppliers, some Taiwan manufacturers cooperate with foreign companies to develop cutting-edge technologies that ensure high machine performance. And because safety is a priority in the aerospace industry, the strength of the metal is of primary importance. Therefore, critical components of airplanes, such as bulkheads, frames, spars, shrouds, and others, have to be made from a single piece of metal. The high material removal rate is thus significant to the machine.

 

CHEM series, which is a gantry type 5-axis machine center, is a perfect tool for aerospace component machining. The utilization of linear motors in the linear axes, DD motors in the rotational axes, along with the full closed-loop position control technology and advanced structure design, enables the high dynamic performance of the machine. This allows cutting of a large-sized aluminum alloy bulk into complicated shapes with high accuracy and efficiency.

 

Since the X/Y/Z axes are all driven by linear motors, the maximal feed rate can reach 60m/min, and the maximal acceleration up to 0.5G. A/C axis adopts high torque motor without any backlash. The highest spindle rpm of the CHEM series can reach 24,000 rpm, the maximal workpiece length is beyond 12m, and the maximal workpiece width is 4m. They allow large-sized machining, with stern accuracy and efficiency.

 

High Quality Yet Reasonably Priced

A number of machine tools made in Taiwan today are designed with the aerospace industry in mind. Taiwan is an island nation with limited resources yet it is the fourth largest machine tool exporter in the world. This great success comes not only by its advancement in machine development, but also by its capability to provide excellent turnkey solutions.

 

In the highly customized aerospace industry, Taiwanese machine tool makers are reequipping themselves to meet the strict demands of the sector. Aerospace manufacturers are encouraged to explore the machine solutions offered by Taiwan and to partner with Taiwanese suppliers to secure the highest benefits.