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Forging Supplier Initiative Support

Objective

Support the technical activities of teams led by Pratt & Whitney and GE Aircraft Engines under the USAF/Navy Forging Supplier Initiative Program to achieve the affordability goals for forged components of the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) F-35. Pratt & Whitney was selected to lead Phase II of this program in July 2000.

Technical Approach

Value stream analysis of the production sequence of forged components reveals some areas in which cost reductions could be effected: material utilization, reducing extended lead times, eliminating product delivery and raw material interruptions, better utilization of equipment and levelization of material demand. In addition to these, the development of alternate processing technologies and practices to reduce the buy-to-fly ratio of forged components will also enable cost reduction. Examples include: laser additive deposition, contour following ultrasonic testing, incremental forging and flow forming.
The Navy support project is focussing on:

  • Developing computer-based process analysis models and tools to better address the simulation needs of the forging industry. Example include ring-rolling simulation tools (consisting of finite element analysis(FEA), geometric mapping and upper bound elemental techniques) to enable designing leaner rolled-ring profiles.
  • Improving forging/forming process understanding in the following technical areas: disk/structural forging simulation accuracy, ring-rolling process design methods and alternate forging/forming practices such as incremental forging and flow forming to reduce materials utilization in manufacturing aerospace components.
  • Facilitating technology development and transfer through close interaction with the Navy stakeholders, original equipment manufacture engine manufacturers (OEM) (Pratt & Whitney), JSF F135 Engine CIPT, key forging houses, ring rolling vendors, and commercial FEA software companies.
  • Subcontracting with U.S. universities and U.S.-based small-sized software and forming/forging companies.

Benefits

  • If successful, the joint USAF/Navy program will reduce the cost of the forged components for the F-35 by $1,600 million. This represents a rough order of magnitude return on investment to the Department of Defense of over 130 based on the Navy`s investment of $3.1 million and the USAF investment of $9 million. The lean forging practices developed under this project will be implemented on engines such as the F-35 F135, F-35 F119, F117, and structural components from the F/A-18 E/F, F-15, and RAH-66 aircraft.
  • Development of alternate processing technologies and practices for engine components (made of titanium alloys and nickel-bases superalloys) will present a return of investment of 3:1 on cost of these components over the lifetime of the F-35 program.

Implementation

In Phase I, two OEMs and team leaders, namely Pratt & Whitney and GE Aircraft Engines, were responsible for identifying and implementing the cost-reduction strategies for the F-35. The Pratt & Whitney (West Palm Beach, FL) team consists of Honeywell, Lockheed Martin Aeronautical Systems (LMAS), Wyman-Gordon (a PCC Company), Ladish Co., Inc. and Firth Rixson Viking, Inc. The team led by GE Aircraft Engines is comprised ofthe Rolls-Royce Corporation, The Boeing Company, Wyman-Gordon, Inc. and Ladish Co., Inc. As mentioned above (Objective), Pratt & Whitney was selected to lead the project in Phase II. This project ran concurrently with other team projects. The technical activities undertaken in this NCEMT project are based on the requirements provided by the team members. These requirements will be established through discussions with team members. All of the technology and tools developed will be demonstrated at appropriate facilities for maximum benefit.

Status

Completed