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Case Studies & Articles

Blue Photon made front cover news

September 27th, 2019 by Blue Photon

JJ Churchill Ltd reduces machining operations by half with Blue Photon technology

May 10th, 2018 by Blue Photon

Aerospace engineering firm JJ Churchill has announced it has reduced its tooling costs by 5% with a 50% reduction in the number of machining operations on a specific critical part.

This has been achieved with Blue Photon technology which is marketed in the UK and Europe by NCMT Limited.

This technology is applied to a titanium aluminide aerofoil blade component which is an extremely difficult material to fixture and machine. Blue Photon fixes the component to the tool with an adhesive, which cured under UV light, is strong enough for the most rigorous machining techniques including 5-axis CNC. The process is a replacement for encapsulation, providing reduced fixture complexity. Read the rest of this entry »


Case Study: Shop Finds Fixturing Solution for Flexing Parts

November 11th, 2017 by Blue Photon

Precision Grinding and Manufacturing uses an atypical means to fixture thin parts that are prone to flexing when conventional workholding clamps are used: adhesive cured by UV light. -By Derek Korn

Sometimes, the trickiest aspect of developing an effective machining process is figuring out how best to fixture the part. This can be especially challenging for castings and other workpieces that are relatively thin, because those parts are prone to flexing when conventional mechanical clamps (and even vacuum chucks in some cases) are used. Operators must take care not to distort such parts while tightening clamps, otherwise the parts will spring back to their natural state once the clamps are removed after machining. Vibration can also be an issue for parts like these if they aren’t rigidly fixtured, meaning a quality surface finish might be tough to achieve and cutting parameters might have to be dialed back, extending cycle times. Finding a way to effectively fixture complex, contoured parts can be just as difficult. Read the rest of this entry »


Cutting Tool Engineering: Stick With It

September 1st, 2017 by Blue Photon

Productive Times: Stick With It

By Kip Hanson – Published September 1, 2015

Let’s say you want to machine your initials on your favorite Hummel figurine or cut the likeness of the school mascot on your daughter’s Little League helmet. How are you going to grip them? A conventional way to grip fragile, difficult-to-hold workpieces is to encapsulate them in some sort of potting compound, a time-consuming and wasteful process.

Rather than mix up a tub of two-part epoxy, consider photo-activated adhesive workholding (PAAW). Read the rest of this entry »


Case Study: Urschel Laboratories Inc.

May 3rd, 2017 by Blue Photon

Productive Times: Bonded By Light

By Alan Richter – Published May 3, 2017, in Cutting Tool Engineering magazine

Adhesive being applied to the gripper head of a Blue Photon photo-activated adhesive workholding system

Adhesive is applied to the gripper head of a Blue Photon photo-activated adhesive workholding system. Image via CTE and courtesy of Urschel Laboratories.

Urschel Laboratories Inc. manufactures industrial equipment to slice, dice, shred and mill virtually any food product.

According to Bill Monroe, senior manufacturing engineer for Urschel, the company machines parts for the food processors at its only manufacturing facility, located in Urschel’s 350,000-sq.-ft. headquarters. Urschel produces many of these workpieces in its two foundries. “We have a no-bake foundry and an investment foundry,” Monroe said.

As part of a major new project that Urschel, Chesterton, Ind., started late last year, Monroe needed to hold a 300-series stainless steel billet that was convex on one side and then access five sides when machining it on a 5-axis machine. Read the rest of this entry »


Case Study: NCMT Limited

April 22nd, 2017 by Blue Photon

Adhesive Workholding Allows Turbine Blades To Be Ground In One Hit

Technique offers the possibility of automated production

A fixture designed by NCMT for securing a turbine blade on one aerofoil surface using four adhesive grippersA new method for securing a turbine blade prior to machining by gluing one side of its aerofoil to a fixture, rather than using mechanical clamping, allows the root and tip to be ground in one operation. Traditionally, due to clamp interference, at least two operations are required on conventional CNC grinders to machine the fir-tree and wedge face on the root as well as the shroud end features at the tip.

The one-hit manufacturing process is not only faster, but also eliminates work-in-progress and the risk of introducing inaccuracy due to repeated refixturing. The technique is being developed in the UK by NCMT, which sells Makino’s VIPER grinding platforms across Europe. Since May 2015, the company has also been European agent for the patented Blue Photon photo-activated adhesive workholding system from the USA. Read the rest of this entry »