Composite materials, widely used in applications such as aircrafts, sports
vehicles, marine units, construction vehicles and automobiles, are fast
replacing traditional structural materials such as steel and aluminum. As a
result, techniques and best practices in tooling and crafting have come under
the spotlight even as tool makers strive to capitalize on this new industry
trend. A case in point is AMAMCO Tool, which has striven to continuously refine its
tooling and crafting methods in an effort to better serve application areas that
require handling composite materials.
AMAMCO specializes in the production of customized tools for hard
applications. AMAMCO's knowledge base in this area has been enriched by its
involvement in the initial stages of the Boeing 787 program. Subsequently,
Boeing alliance partners, namely Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Mitsubishi Heavy
Industries, Spirit Aerosystems, Vought and Alenia Aeronautica, began to utilize
AMAMCO's rotary cutters and solid carbide tools for section fabrication ahead of
final aircraft assembly. These tools are used for drilling holes in composite,
composite/aluminum or composite/titanium stack ups.
Initially, the abrasiveness of composite material caused high tool failure
while drilling rivet holes into the aircraft body. However, AMAMCO was able to
overcome this challenge by designing special solid carbide tools that convinced
even difficult technicians to adopt these tools in a drilling method superior to
the conventional incremental hole drilling process, a method that could maintain
hole quality while enhancing drilling efficiency.
AMAMCO states that producing these special tools to exacting tolerances can
result in greater tool life compared to that of existing tool technologies such
as polycrystalline diamond (PCD), thereby reducing the cost per hole. Special
solid carbide tools are also more robust compared to PCD tools, have higher
availability and are not restricted in point geometry design and the number of
regrinds possible. Encouraged by these advantages, Boeing and its alliance
partners have preferred the use of solid carbide cutting tools to other
According to Jon Salem, vice president of AMAMCO, the main goal of the
company is the timely supply of the appropriate tools for any application.