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Near-Net-Shape Trimming Process by Abrasive Water Jet Cutting of High-Performance Workpieces for the Aerospace Industry

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Document pages: 6 pages

Abstract: High-performance materials offer enormous potential for increasing the efficiency of many complex and highly stressed systems in the aerospace industry. However, due to their special material properties, most of these materials are very difficult to machine using conventional machining processes such as turning, milling and drilling. In comparison, water jet cutting technology offers all the prerequisites to bring high-performance materials to their final contour and to efficiently realize a large portion of the material removal. Because of the complex geometry of 3D components used in the aerospace industry, a further development of existing system technology as well as the generation of cutting paths, which are usually designed for pure 2D machining, is required.The aim of the study is the implementation of an automated pre-contouring for difficult to machine materials using abrasive water jet cutting for industrial 3D applications. This is achieved by using an innovative workpiece clamping as well as a new cutting technology, the trimming, in order to reduce the costs of the pre-contouring process as well as the time and resource consumption of the entire process chain. During trimming, a continuous cut takes place and the semi-finished product is brought closer and closer to the required component geometry by cutting off the outer material areas. For this purpose, tests were carried out on workpieces made of stainless steel X5CrNi18 (EN 1.4301) with cutting conditions that are demanding for the abrasive water jet cutting process, such as high cutting depths with simultaneously low cutting angles. It was possible to use these findings to extend existing material models and thus ensure an error-free path generation for cutting processes. The investigations are the basis for the future use of waterjet cutting for near-net-shape machining of workpieces with complex 3D geometry. The experiments showed promising results in terms of the economic efficiency of the trimming process and provide a basis for subsequent investigations with difficult-to-machine workpieces for the aerospace industry.

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