Original Date: 10/14/1988
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Information : Tooling for Composites
Bell Helicopter Textron, Inc. (BHTI) is currently using state-of-the-art approaches and materials for fabricating tooling for composites. They are using plastic masters for small items such as wing and blade tips; steel for large composite tooling such as the graphite composite tooling for the V-22 wing skins; steel and aluminum for rotor blades and yokes that are NC machined; and synthetic materials and isostatic graphite that are NC machined. They are also using proprietary vendor supplied materials, such as reinforced polyurethane, that are NC machined.
BHTI is conducting in-house research to qualify new materials, and is surveying outside sources for additional materials and approaches.
The manufacturing practice followed by BHTI is that tool design is part specific. Accuracy and size constraints dictate thermal expansion considerations, and production requirements affect tool design. The fact that each tool fabrication step successively reduces final part accuracy is leading BHTI to increase implementation of CATIA modeling and NC machining of tools. BHTI is also trying to improve current non-CATIA methods and the development and selection of new materials.
For more information see the
Point of Contact for this survey.