NetComposites
Thermwood

University of Loughborough Develop New Composites Cutting Device

08 July 2014

University of Loughborough Develop New Composites Cutting Device

The University claims the innovative device makes machining composites as easy as ‘cutting through butter’.

Loughborough University states it has developed a device which could revolutionise the way cutting, drilling and milling is done in manufacturing.

The tool makes working on difficult-to-cut materials like aerospace-grade composites so easy it is like ‘cutting through butter’.

The University explains the new device uses a technique called ultrasonically-assisted machining (UAM), which uses a specially designed piezoelectric transducer working in tandem with a traditional turning, drilling or milling machine.

The device creates ultrasonic vibrations at anything between 20kHz and 39kHz, and the machining technique makes the composite material so ‘soft’ in the area being worked on that much less force is needed from the cutting tool, resulting in less damage, less waste, and a better finish.

UAM is the brainchild of Professor Vladimir Babitsky, from the Wolfson School of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, and has been developed extensively in the last few years with the support of Dr Anish Roy and Professor Vadim Silberschmidt.

Several PhD projects have been successful over the last decade, including the recent work by Vaibhav Phadnis and Farrukh Makhdum, who have been instrumental in tackling the challenging task of drilling in carbon/epoxy composites.

Dr Roy said: “UK manufacturing production and new orders both continue to rise. This is truly encouraging which implies we ought to be looking for better, economically efficient and sustainable manufacturing methods in the immediate to near future.

“Ultrasonically assisted machining could well be the answer to this. The technique has been successful in the laboratory where multi-fold improvements in cutting intractable aerospace alloys have been demonstrated. It makes machining so easy it is like cutting through butter.

“Ultrasonically assisted drilling has shown significant improvements in drilling carbon/epoxy composites with significantly reduced damage in the machined composite.This is particularly interesting, as any kind of machining of brittle composites can damage the composite material.

“The challenge is to minimise this and, if possible, completely eliminate damage due to drilling. Ultrasonic drilling has shown excellent damage mitigation with remarkable drilling force reductions.”

The technique is currently being extended into biomedical applications such as drilling holes in bones for orthopaedic surgery.

Also, preliminary studies in drilling tiny holes in printed circuit boards show excellent potential for component assembly that require high precision.

Photo provided by Loughborough University 





Share this story


Related / You might like...

Web Industries Awarded Membership in National Composites Centre

Web Industries, a precision formatter of flexible materials and an outsource manufacturer, has been awarded associate membership in the prestigious National Composites Centre.

Porcher Industries Inaugurates Chinese Manufacturing Site

Porcher Industries has celebrated the opening of its new Chinese manufacturing site. The inauguration of Zhejiang Porcher Industries New Material on 22 November demonstrates the company’s commitment and confidence in the region, its Chinese partners and the next chapter of growth for Porcher Industries as a global leader in technical textiles.

Zünd UK Open House a Success

Companies from a variety of sectors, including aerospace, textiles, graphics and packaging, recently attended the Open House hosted at Zünd UK's dedicated demonstration suite in St Albans, UK.