Automated Process Planning for High-Speed Milling of Thin-Walled Products


The design and development of a prototype process planning system for small batch manufacturing by means of high-speed milling of thin-walled parts.


Fokker Special Products in Hoogeveen employs High Speed Milling (HSM) for the manufacturing of thin-walled products for the aircraft industry. These structural aircraft parts are typically monoliths that can replace components consisting of sheet-metal assemblies of aircrafts and helicopters. The United States defence is currently developping the Joint Strike Fighter, the successor of th F16. Fokker is involved in the manufacturing participation of this development. Within this framework, the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) High-Speed Milling project has come into existence, a co-operation of among others Fokker and the University of Twente. The University of Twente has taken upon itself the automation of the process planning of the parts. The company Tecnomatix is partner in this project as well; they develop and sell PART (now: eMPower), a software package for the automatic process planning of (conventional) 2.5D machining operations. This software will serve as a basis for the implementation in the project.

Considering the thin wall thicknesses of the parts to be milled (often 1 to 2 mm), the core issue of the process planning is dealing with the low stiffness of the part. In this, both static and dynamic stiffness play a role. Feature technology will be employed to prevent stiffness problems as much as possible.


Michiel Popma

Tecnomatix Machining Automation BV

Institutenweg 26

7521PK Enschede