Lockheed Martin has acquired an Okuma MA-600HII horizontal machining center (HMC) equipped with 5ME’s patented cryogenic machining system to perform roughing and finishing operations on large titanium airframe components for the F-35 program. Test cuts performed on 6AI4V titanium produced a 52% increase in cutting speeds (21 hours with 5ME cryogenics vs. 44 hours with coolant), while maintaining equal cutter consumption. The tests, using a 5ME solid carbide cryogenic end mill, also produced improved surface integrity and part quality, as well as reduced white layer. According to Lockheed, cryogenic technology will help lower the cost of large titanium parts by an estimated 30%. The new Okuma HMC with liquid nitrogen-based cryogenic system will operate Lockheed’s Dallas/Fort Worth, TX, production facility, and represents the collaborative efforts of 5ME, Okuma, Hartwig and Lockheed Martin.
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