How TechSolve optimized SAFRAN’s deep hole drilling process with no downtime

When you’re the world-leader in aircraft and braking systems, you can’t afford to stop production; too many points in the aviation supply chain are counting on you to deliver. So how do you test parts and processes without disruptions? Test them offsite in TechSolve’s instrumented machining labs.

A location change comes with a tool change

SAFRAN LANDING SYSTEMS was preparing for a move to a new machining center with a significantly faster spindle when it approached TechSolve about conducting preliminary tests with a new, two-fluted spiral deep hole drill. SAFRAN ’s new location would be a vertical mill-turn machining center with a 20,000 RPM spindle (the previous spindle speed was 6,000 RPM) and with the move, SAFRAN wanted to define optimized machining parameters to simultaneously improve the drilling process time and extend the cutting tool’s life.

Hitting pause is not an option

A partner to 30 air framers working in the fields of civil, regional, business, and military transport, SAFRAN employs more than 7,000 in Europe, North America, and Asia, and provides support for 25,000 aircraft making over 40,000 landings every day. So SAFRAN cannot afford to lose time implementing unstable processes. It was essential to avoid any risk of disrupting SAFRAN’s production, shop floor or wider business during testing.

Replicating SAFRAN’s process offsite

TechSolve’s unique instrumented machining lab allows manufacturers to mimic customer equipment and validate process solutions offsite. For SAFRAN, we replicated the manufacturer’s in-house process at our state-of-the-art machining center in Cincinnati, Ohio, reproducing identical conditions to those at SAFRAN’s Walton, Kentucky site—including the drills, materials, and coolant used, as well as feed and speed rates, to set the baseline.

Our experts then conducted tests with a spiral drill and utilized a drilling dynamometer to collect a robust data set for investigation into the behavior of the new drill. Torque, thrust, tool wear, and the straightness of the hole were all measured, as well as the surface finish of the hole. Using a digital 3D microscope, we analyzed the data to identify the optimal machining parameters and recipe.

Short-term testing leads to long-term manufacturing efficiency

Within just ten weeks, the improved process was validated at 18 seconds per hole, down from 1.5 minutes, an overall improved cycle time of 80%. The new method was supplied and implemented globally at the SAFRAN Landing Systems plants in Molsheim, France and Walton, Kentucky, ensuring that the new machining center would be optimized to deliver tangible benefits right to the bottom line, accelerating SAFRAN’s process time and reducing part costs.

What’s your next challenge?

At TechSolve, we help manufacturers like SAFRAN solve specific machining challenges and conduct simulations to improve efficiency, without taking their systems offline. Do you have a process or project that could benefit from testing in TechSolve’s labs? We’d love to learn more about it.

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