Starrag Demonstrates New NB 151 Machine at Turbine Event

29. August 2019
Starrag presentation NB 151

With a new blisk and impeller machine making its public debut, complemented by a host of technology developments and demonstrations on a range of machines and partner workstations, Starrag’s seventh Turbine Technology Days hosted visitors from 18 different countries to discuss the manufacturing of turbine blades, blisks and engine casings. The event was held in Rorschach, Switzerland.

While the spotlight was firmly on the new Starrag NB 151 for the machining of impellers and blisks of up to 600 mm in diameter and weighing 300 kg, there was a range of other machine presentations. These machines were showcased alongside several workstations featuring the latest in tooling, tool setting and tool management systems, CNC technologies, CAD/CAM and inspection routines, as well as in-process grinding. 

The presentations included:

  • The production of compressor blades (with a blade length of 46 mm and an airfoil length of 32 mm) in one setup using a Starrag LX 021 machining center that also used diamond wheels to grind the blade root. 
  • How coolant (Synergy 735 from main event partner Blaser) can improve tool life and promote environmental friendliness. The comparative tests on the Starrag LX 251 machining center demonstrated the benefits of this “liquid tool” coolant, which is free from chlorine, boron and formaldehyde.
  • The combination of Starrag Group machines to develop cost-effective and efficient flexible manufacturing systems for workpieces in the aerospace and energy sectors — for example, a system incorporating three Starrag STC 800 machining centers and a trio of Berthiez TVU 1400 vertical turning lathes (VTLs).

Colin Sirett, chief executive of the Sheffield, U.K.-based Advanced Manufacturing Research Center with Boeing, used his time a keynote speaker to reinforce how the challenges of turbine machining are being met by Starrag in terms of machining technologies that improve production rates, accuracies and validation/verification.

Starrag Managing Director Dr. Bernhard Bringmann emphasizes that “The starting point for every Starrag Group solution is the component, not one of our machines. We vary machine configurations and machining concepts to determine the overall effect on cycle times; pushing everything to the maximum to develop an all-embracing solution that is specific to each workpiece.” He continues: “We are not in the market to sell ‘standard’ machines; we strive to continue to be the ‘application champion’ on specific parts required in either low- or high-volume. Our customers have to be competitive and, likewise, we have to remain focused on delivering cost-effective and efficient solutions.”

The development of the new NB 151 impeller and blisk machine is the latest example of this focused approach. The machine features a number of developments for the effective and efficient machining of blisks. In particular, innovative rotary-axis (A and B) spindle movement enables the tool/cutting angle to be positioned relatively closer to the workpiece, resulting in not only a more stable machining process but also a much more effective route to minimal cycle times. Importantly, this improved accessibility to the workpiece is courtesy of a B-axis stroke of 280 degrees which, together with the compact A axis and relatively slender spindle, enables the component to be accessed in all directions, including at the bottom of the Y-axis stroke.

“Components are increasingly becoming more complex and require more demanding machining, so we have to work closely with customers to also develop and provide special-purpose fixturing and tooling, for example,” says Mr. Bringmann. “Nowadays you need the whole package!”

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