Our CNC mill enables us to add features to waterjet profiles to produce a completed product or to machine a more complex part from a blank cut on the waterjet. Milling from near net profiles ( profiles cut on the waterjet with 1-2 mm of excess material) allows for much better utilisation of material. The CNC mill will machine to much higher tolerances than the waterjet. CNC milling is a slower process than waterjet cutting. So, by combining the two process utilises the most appropriate tool for each part of the process, leading to greater economy.
Why CNC Milling?
Milling can be a stand-alone process – machining complex 3D parts with partial depth features not possible with a waterjet . It also offers superior accuracy compared to a water. Mill accuracy offered is +/- 0.05mm ( waterjet standard is +/- 0.25mm). A machined face can be a true 90 degrees or any other angle, it will also be a significantly smoother finish than a waterjet. Its possible to ‘mix and match’ accuracy / cut edge finish between the mill and the waterjet to meet customer requirements.
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For many years, we subcontracted out any element of CNC machining. However, a growing demand and a focus on retaining control over the whole process has resulted I us bringing this process in-house. Our expertise in this area is growing all the time as we meet customer demands. Half of our team has completed formal training with the equipment manufacturer.
Helping the Environment
Milling is generally quite a wasteful process – machining away lots of material to reduce the original blank of metal down to the finished size. 85% of aerospace titanium never ends up in the aeroplane but is converted to scrap swarf in the machining process for the end parts. By combining milling with the waterjet process, to produce near net parts, higher material yield and less waste is possible.