HII’s Newport News Shipbuilding division, located in Virginia, USA, reports it has utilised Additive Manufacturing to produce a specialised cutting tool needed for work aboard the United States Navy’s USS John F Kennedy (CVN 79) aircraft carrier.
The spotface cutting tool was designed by Chis Davis, a tool engineer at HII’s Newport News Shipbuilding division. Using a conventional manufacturing process to make the part would have taken weeks, so the production of the tool was handed to Deputy Chief Engineer John Ralls and his Additive Manufacturing team. This resulted in the main body of the cutting tool being manufactured in just a few days, without compromising quality.
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“It is alternate fabrication method that is able to rapidly produce tools of high precision, in order to support the end product,” Ralls shared. “In this case, we were able to take the digital tool design from Chris Davis, and print the part in a matter of days.”
The new design utilises carbide inserts that can be rotated or changed out, as opposed to the old cutter made from tool steel, which had to be sharpened almost daily. The spotface cutting tool required for work on CVN 79 is expected to save thousands of man-hours over time.
“This tool example demonstrates the benefit of long-term strategic thinking,” Ralls added. “Newport News Shipbuilding has taken a leadership role in specific technologies, Additive Manufacturing being one of them. We have removed numerous roadblocks that have enabled us to support emergent parts like this spotface cutting tool.”