13/9/10 – New Titanium Machining Process developed by Creare
13 September 2010
Lockhead Martin has announced the development of a groundbreaking cryogenic titanium machining process that will be used in the production of Lockheed Martin’s F-35 Lightning II stealth fighter. The company says that the new process brings numerous improvements over existing titanium-machining methods, including increases in cutting-tool life and material-removal rates, which directly reduce costs.
The high performance titanium machining process was designed, developed and tested at Creare, Inc. The team of Creare Incorporated, H.M. Dunn Company, and MAG IAS has worked for the past several years on the development of the low-flow cryogenic machining of titanium, funded through Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) programme awards.
"This is a prime example of the successful transition of an SBIR-sponsored and funded technology from its developmental stages to a production environment that can enhance affordability for near-term military systems, like the F-35," said Mike Packer, Lockheed Martin vice president of production operations.
Creare, a premier engineering research and development firm, has led the technology development. H.M. Dunn of Euless, Texas, a Tier I supplier for the F-35 program, will be the site of performance demonstrations to be completed in late 2010 or early 2011. MAG IAS, North America’s leading machining and machine tool supplier, headquartered in Hebron, Ky., is commercializing the technology.
Other development team members include the U.S. Navy SBIR Program Office and the Joint Strike Fighter Program Office. The F-35 Lightning II is a 5th generation fighter, combining advanced stealth with fighter speed and agility, fully fused sensor information, network-enabled operations, advanced sustainment, and lower operational and support costs. Lockheed Martin is developing the F-35 with its principal industrial partners, Northrop Grumman and BAE Systems.