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Research Papers

A Reliable and Efficient Approach to Numerically Controlled Programming Optimization for Multiple Largest Tools Cutting Blisks Patch by Patch in the Blisks' Four-Axis Rough Machining

[+] Author and Article Information
Zhiyong Chang, Jinan Wen, Dinghua Zhang

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
Northwestern Polytechnical University,
Xi'an 710072, Shaanxi, China

Zezhong C. Chen

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
Northwestern Polytechnical University,
Xi'an 710072, Shaanxi, China;
Department of Mechanical and
Industrial Engineering,
Concordia University,
Montreal, QC H3G 1M8, Canada
e-mail: zcchen@encs.concordia.ca

Manuscript received January 8, 2017; final manuscript received May 11, 2017; published online July 18, 2017. Assoc. Editor: Guillaume Fromentin.

J. Manuf. Sci. Eng 139(9), 091013 (Jul 18, 2017) (14 pages) Paper No: MANU-17-1009; doi: 10.1115/1.4036834 History: Received January 08, 2017; Revised May 11, 2017

As an important component of gas turbine engines, a blisk (or an axial compressor) is complex in shape. The pressure and suction surfaces of the blisk blades are designed with free-form surfaces, and the space (or the channel) between two adjacent blades varies significantly. Thus, some blade patches can be machined with large-diameter cutters, and some patches have to be cut with small-diameter cutters. Usually, the blisk's material is high-strength stainless steel, titanium alloy, or difficult-to-cut material. The cutting force and temperature in roughing the blisks are high, and thus, the machine tool should be rigid and the cutters should be as large as possible. Therefore, the best industrial practice of rough-machining the blisks is to use multiple largest solid and indexable end-mills to cut them patch by patch on a four-axis computer numerically controlled (CNC) machine. The reasons are (a) four-axis CNC machines are more rigid than five-axis CNC machines, (b) multiple largest cutters are used for higher cutting speeds and feed rates and for less machining time and longer tool life, and (c) if indexable end-mills can be used, the tooling costs are further reduced. For the blisk finishing, a small cutter is often used on a five-axis CNC machine, which is not a topic of this work. However, due to complex shape of the blades, it is quite difficult to automatically optimize the blade surface partition so that each surface patch can be cut with a largest cutter in four-axis blisk rough machining. In the conventional way, numerically controlled (NC) programmers often employ small-diameter solid end-mills and plan their paths to cut the blades layer by layer in four-axis milling. Unfortunately, the machining efficiency of this way is low, and the end-mills wear out quickly. This work establishes a theoretical and completed solution. A simplified optimization model of the largest allowable diameter of the theoretical cutter at a cutter contact (CC) point is established, and an efficient and reliable solver is proposed. The blade surfaces are automated partitioned for largest cutters to the surfaces patch by patch in four-axis rough machining. This approach is efficient and reliable, and it is viable in theory and practical in industry.

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Figures

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 1

(a) A blisk with 15 blades, each of which is defined with a pressure and a suction surface, and (b) the blisk is set up on the rotary table of a four-axis CNC machining center

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 2

Illustration of the geometric model of tapered bull-nose end-mills

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 3

(a) For the testing point P1, the theoretical cutter is calculated and plotted; (b) by searching all testing points on S0 for the smallest theoretical cutter, the testing point Pmin is found; and (c) by searching all testing points on surfaces S0 and S1, an allowable theoretical cutter is calculated and plotted

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 4

(a) For angle B as 5.12 deg, the allowable cutter diameter is 11.64 mm, (b) for angle B as 5.58 deg, the allowable cutter diameter is 26.06 mm, (c) for angle B as 22.44 deg, the allowable cutter diameter is 22.02 mm, and (d) for angle B as 30.05 deg, the allowable cutter diameter is 17.78 mm

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 5

(a) A typical blisk is adopted and plotted, (b) the function of the largest allowable diameter of the theoretical cutter at the CC points on the pressure surface, and (c) the function of the corresponding blisk rotation angle B

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 6

The illustration diagram of the proposition

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 7

Calculating the largest allowable cutter diameter based on testing points on the to-be-cut surface. (a) In a range of angle B, the to-be-cut surface faces backward the cutter, and cutters in any size intersects this surface, (b) in the range of angle B, the to-be-cut surface faces toward the cutter, and the cutter with the largest diameter calculated can intersect the surrounding surfaces, and (c) in a range of angle B, the cutter with the maximum diameter calculated can intersect the surrounding surfaces.

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 8

Calculating the largest allowable cutter diameter based on testing points on the surrounding surfaces. (a) In a range of angle B, the cutter with the maximum diameter calculated does not intersect with the surrounding surfaces, (b) in the range of angle B, the to-be-cut surface faces toward the cutter, and the cutter with the largest diameter calculated can intersect the to-be-cut surfaces, and (c) in a range of angle B, the surrounding surfaces cover the CC point and cutters in any size intersects with these surfaces.

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 9

(a) A mesh of testing points is sampled on the pressure surface, and (b) by searching the testing points, the largest allowable cutter is found, but it interferes with the suction surface

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 10

(a) The function D0(S0(u,v),B) of the largest allowable diameter versus the blisk rotation angle is plotted with solid line, and (b) the functions for the five CC points are in the same pattern

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 11

At CC point Pcc=S(0.5,0.4) and the blisk rotation angle of 6 deg, the largest allowable diameter D1(S1(u,v),B=6) is 21.70 mm, and the testing point is PMi

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 12

Illustration of the linear searching algorithm of the effective optimization solver

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 13

(a) The largest allowable diameters of the theoretical cutters for the CC points on the pressure surface and (b) the corresponding angle B

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 14

The pressure surface is partitioned into five patches plotted in different colors

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Fig. 15

A flow chart of this approach

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Fig. 16

(a) The details of the pressure surface after the machining simulation and (b) the details of the suction surface after the machining simulation

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Fig. 17

A blisk is designed and plotted

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Fig. 18

(a) The tool paths generated with ug software for machining the upper channel, and (b) the tool paths for machining the lower channel

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 19

(a) The largest allowable diameters of the theoretical cutters for the CC points on the suction surface and (b) the corresponding angle B

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 20

(a) For rough machining the pressure surface, it is partitioned into six patches, (b) the tools paths including the angle B are generated for each patch and are displayed, and (c) the pressure surface of the blisk cut in simulation

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 21

(a) For rough machining the suction surface, it is partitioned into five patches, (b) the tools paths including the angle B are generated for each patch and are displayed, and (c) the suction surface of the blisk cut in simulation

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 22

(a) The blisk is cut with the six largest obtainable cutters, and (b) cutter 3 is cutting the pressure surface of a blade

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Fig. 23

(a) Channels A–F in machining simulation are plotted, and (b) the channel machined and the six cutters are displayed

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