RightCost™ Case Study

A leading aero engine manufacturer wanted to develop two major hot section engine components from a new high temperature nickel-based super alloy. It called on OPTIS expertise for insightful machinability and manufacturing data to reduce part costs.

The company’s engines power many of the world’s most advanced passenger and military jets. It wanted to manufacture two major hot section engine components from a new nickel-based super alloy developed for engines used in military airframe applications. Machinability and manufacturing data on the alloy was needed to give product engineers advanced information for their designs.
OPTIS expertise was used to develop a RightCost™ project to give the necessary design data. After each phase data was used to direct the development of the following phases.
The five phases addressed the:

  1. Machinability of the alloy in four heat treat conditions when turning, milling and drilling
  2. Best tool geometry to apply for the three machining application
  3. Optimization of the machining parameters based on tool life
  4. Validation of the machining process on downscaled feature based specimens
  5. Development of a validated process plan by machining four full scale parts

Testing for the first four phases of this program involved machinability testing conducted in the M. Eugene Merchant Technology Development Center, a fully instrumented machining lab located in Cincinnati, Ohio.

The RightCost™ project enabled the company to use data from machining the new high temperature super alloy as part of their design considerations to design components that cost less to manufacture. Risks to both cost and schedule were reduced thanks to an understanding of the material characteristics and machining process best suited to fabricate the components. The company was also able to jump start its process planning for both in-house manufacturing and to their supply chain.