With a new machine for the production of blisks and impellers making its public debut, along with a host of technology developments and demonstrations on a range of machines and ‘partner’ workstations featuring innovative production and manufacturing technologies, this year’s Starrag Turbine Technology Days
— the seventh in the series — gave a record number of visitors (from 18 countries) plenty to think about in terms of the ‘world-class’ manufacturing of turbine blades, blisks and engine casings.
While the spotlight was firmly on the new Starrag NB 151 for the machining of impellers and blisks (up to 600mm in diameter and weighing 300kg), there was a range of other on-machine presentations —including in-process grinding — alongside several ‘workstations’ featuring the latest in tooling, tool-setting and tool management, CNC systems, CAD/CAM software and inspection routines.
The on-machine demonstrations included the production of compressor blades (with a blade length of 46mm and an airfoil length of 32mm) ‘in one go’, using a Starrag LX 021 machining centre that also used diamond wheels to grind the blade root as part of ‘single set-up’ machining.
Another demonstration showed how coolant (in this case Synergy 735 from event partner Blaser) can improve tool life while ‘promoting environmental aspects’ (it is free from chlorine, boron and formaldehyde).
Another presentation highlighted Starrag’s ability to combine Starrag Group machines to develop “cost-effective and efficient flexible manufacturing systems for workpieces in the aerospace and energy sectors”; being demonstrated was a system incorporating three Starrag STC 800 machining centres and three Berthiez TVU 1400 vertical turning lathes.
The keynote speaker at the two-day event at Starrag’s headquarters in Rorschach, Switzerland, was Colin Sirett, chief executive of the Sheffield-based Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre with Boeing.
He highlighted how the challenges of turbine production are being met by Starrag machining technologies that are “increasingly surpassing users’ expectations for better production rates, accuracies and validation/verification.”
Starrag’s chief executive (www.starrag.com
), Christian Walti, highlighted development aspects of the new NB 151, which was designed specifically for the “effective and efficient machining of blisks”.
For example, an ‘innovative’ spindle with two rotary axes (A and B) allows the tool/cutting angle to be positioned closer to the workpiece, resulting in “not only a more stable machining process but also a much more effective route to minimal cycle times”.
In addition, improved accessibility to the workpiece via a B-axis stroke of 280deg, together with a compact A axis and a relatively slender spindle, enables the component to be accessed in all directions — even at the bottom of the Y-axis stroke.