SUNConferences, Southern African Institute of Industrial Engineering 2013

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Exploring Abrasive Water Jet Cutting For Near Net Shape Processing Of Titanium Aerospace Components
Ruan de Bruyn, Nico Francois Treurnicht

Last modified: 2013-06-25


Establishment of a local titanium industry is the focal point of a broad South African initiative to exploit the country’s reserves of this sought after material. In parallel to the process development, manufacturing technologies is being developed for competitive component manufacture. The high cost of both the titanium alloy as well as the machining constrains the use and the market size for the material. Currently the use is limited to aerospace, medical implant and high value sporting equipment applications. The classic manufacturing method is to machine from solid billet. In the light of the titanium alloys being classified as difficult to machine materials, this is a high cost approach. Several initiatives are in development to address this challenge. Significant development is being devoted to technologies such as press and sinter powder metallurgy, metal additive manufacturing, investment casting as well as isothermal forging. In this study the possibility of abrasive water jet cutting is investigated as a near net shaping process. The capabilities and limitations of the process are discussed. A case study of a typical aerospace part where the conventional method of machining is compared to a near net shape process utilising abrasive water jet cutting and final machining.

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