Exciting Machining Optimization Program (MOP)

January 14, 2015 – Manufacturer’s Edge is partnering with CCAT, Inc. to offer a Machine Optimization Program (MOP). CCAT is looking for 10 manufacturers around the country to participate in Phase I of the Machining Optimization Program, which is sponsored in full by the US Air Force Research Lab (AFRL). There is no cost to participate.

The Machining Optimization Program was developed by CCAT in support of the United States Air Force’s (USAF) need for affordable manufacturability. MOP will optimize machining operations for manufacturers making parts for the USAF and their sub-tier supply chain.

To pilot this opportunity, Manufacturer’s Edge is working with Faustson Tool in Arvada, Colorado to reduce their machining time and costs associated with complex F-35 parts.

“In this era, affordability is the ticket, and in an effort to achieve this we are honored to be able to work with the EDGE, CCAT and USAF to determine if we can achieve more optimization, which is money and if not, as a business leader we also have an opportunity to validate the idea that we are fully optimized on this program. Either way it’s a win/win for all parties involved,” said Heidi Hostetter, Direction of Operations, Fauston Tool. “We either learn some new techniques that achieve optimization and benefit our end customers efforts to cost reduce without quality impacts and/or can truly market the fact that Colorado does house machine shops that are fully optimized and cutting edge (no pun intended).”

Why should you do a MOP project?

  • Increase material removal rate for aerospace alloys up to 70%
  • Increase tool life up to 12X
  • Reduce power consumption average and peak KWH
  • How does MOP work?

    If a manufacturer qualifies and is selected by CCAT, they have the opportunity to participate in a MOP project designed specifically for a part they make for the USAF supply chain. Basically, the manufacturer sends CCAT the current CNC program; we optimize it, and then use it to manufacture the part at our Advanced Manufacturing Center in East Hartford, CT. CCAT then assists the manufacturer in implementing the new machining solution on the manufacturer’s machine at the manufacturer’s facility.

    A typical machining optimization effort for a part selected by CCAT will:

  • Assess current part machining process (tooling and CNC program) for improvement opportunities
  • Redefine tooling (as required) and re-program the tool path (as appropriate) using advanced Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM) solutions such as Siemens NX, Celeritive’s Volumill™, and Mastercam’s High Speed Machining
  • Apply feed-rate optimization using Third Wave Production Module
  • Prove-out optimized machining solution in CCAT’s Advanced Manufacturing Center (AMC) by producing the part
  • Provide on-site support at the manufacturer’s facility to implement the optimized solution on their production equipment
  • Based on the needs and capabilities of the manufacturer, CCAT will also assess and advise if real-time adaptive control, using hardware solutions such as Caron Engineering’s Tool Monitor Adaptive Control (TMAC), ultra-high pressure coolant delivery and alternative coolant formulations are appropriate
  • A Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) can be executed to protect the manufacturer’s process knowledge
  • To qualify for the Machining Optimization Program applicants must:

    Manufacture a machined part (preferably 3 or 5 axis milled part) for the USAF or any other manufacturer in the USAF supply chain. Typically this would be an export controlled or ITAR part. The part should be made of difficult material to machine (e.g., Titanium, Inconel, etc.) Preferably the part will be for an Air Force emerging platform (e.g., F-35). Your customer can be any company in the USAF supply chain, you do not have to sell directly to the USAF.

    If you are interested in participating in the program, please contact Sumer Sorensen-Bain at Manufacturer’s Edge at 303.981.2144 or email at ssorensen@manufacturersedge.com