With nearly 3,500 F-35s still scheduled for production during the life of the Joint Strike Fighter program, it is imperative to look at every aspect of the manufacturing process to reduce costs while ensuring a high level of quality. That is exactly why a team from Lockheed Martin Aeronautics, the Enterprise Drilling Center of Excellence contacted Amamco Tool’s product development team.
According to Lynn Jenkins, Enterprise Drilling Center of Excellence technical lead and senior manufacturing engineer, the need for enhanced cooling comes from the materials and structural configurations used on Lockheed Martin’s 5th generation F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter program.
“Overheating during drilling can damage the composite, aluminum, or titanium structural materials. Traditional cooling methods have been employed for many of our drilling applications; however, we also want to ensure that any cooling enhancements employed would address our green initiatives,” Jenkins says.
Lockheed Martin implemented the use of double margin cutting tools, which was not new to Jenkins. In fact, Lockheed Martin was using them in many of their production applications with traditional liquid coolant applied through the motor nosepiece bushing. This method technically provides an acceptable solution for the application. However, with the advent of some of the newer material stack configurations, Jenkins identified the need to improve the cooling and chip evacuation characteristics.