Prototype Manufacturing

Prototype ManufacturingPrototyping high speed turbomachinery demands a variety of fabrication capabilities, all requiring high precision and backed by similarly precise inspection capabilities. Further, as products range from cryogenic circulators to high temperature turbine generators, material selections range from common and easy-to-machine aluminum alloys to considerably more challenging superalloys.  Material experience includes:

  • Inconel® 718 & 625
  • Hastelloy® C, D, & X
  • Udimet® 720
  • WaspalloyTM
  • Rhenium
  • ReneTM 95 & 41
  • 17-4, 15-5, & 13-8 PH Stainless Steel
  • Mar-MTM 246 & 247
  • Common Stainless Steel
  • Titanium

BNI controls and meets these demands in-house with a well-equipped machinine shop.  Barber-Nichols continually invests in state-of-the-art Computer Numerically Controlled (CNC) lathes, five-axis mills, and sophisticated software designed to generate highly complex tool paths. BNI routinely machines rotors, blisks, inducers, impellers, nozzles, diffusers, housings, shafts, and other complex turbomachine components.

Although the machines help get the job done, a prototype enviroment relies on highly experienced machinists.  BNI's team includes highly skilled programming/machinists who work directly with Solidworks CAD models of all components and creating machining programs in CadKey. BNI's average programmer/machinist has been with the company for 14 years and has more than 22 years of industry experience.  Not only do they excel at creating highly efficient programs to help cut lead times, but they also posses considerable experience in dealing with difficult alloys, where tool wear and unexpected breakage could jeopardize a costly and critical component.  

Once the components are fabricated and verified through BNI's quality department, prototype kits are transferred to our assembly and testing facility for component acceptance tests such as hydrotest, helium leak checks or precision balancing. Versitile technicians assemble a wide variety of machines using detailed drawings and assembly procedures.  All processes culminate with final inspection by the program manager and quality control to ensures all contract requirments are fulfilled.

For further reference of our capabilites, the lathe department can accommodate parts requiring a 100.0 cm (39.4 in) swing and a 200.7 cm (79.0 in) turning length. Additionally, accuracy to 0.00038 cm (0.00015 in) and repeatability to 0.0020 cm (0.0008 in) can be maintained. Finally, part probing, high pressure coolant, programmable tailstocks, and scale feedback systems facilitate the machining of even the most complex components.

The milling group specializes in 4 and 5-Axis machining, utilizing vertical, horizontal, and trunnion style machining centers. The computer aided manufacturing system used to develop the complex contoured surfaces provides simultaneous Two through Five-Axis tool paths in conjunction with fully associative parametric 3D modeling. Full CAD/CAM capabilities allow Barber-Nichols' programmer/machinists to quickly and accurately translate complex engineering drawings into tool path programs. As tool paths are created, verification/simulation of metal removal occurs which significantly aids in the programming and development process.

Five-Axis Endmill Working Envelopes
  Horizontal Vertical Trunnion
X-Axis 110.0 cm (43.3 in) 150.0 cm (59.0 in) 63.0 cm (24.8 in)
Y-Axis 110.0 cm (43.3 in) 80.0 cm (31.5 in) 63.0 cm (24.8 in)
Z-Axis 110.0 cm (43.3 in) 58.4 cm (23.0 in) 50.0 cm (19.7 in)
Weight 1,5000 kg (3,300 lbs) 2,500 kg (5,500 lbs) 500 kg (1,100 lbs)
Accuracy 0.0005 cm (0.0002 in) 0.0003 cm (0.0001 in) 0.0003 cm (0.0001 in)
Repeatability 0.0010 cm (0.0004 in) 0.00010 cm (0.00004 in) 0.00010 cm (0.00004 in)

BNI's specialty is the production of high-speed rotating components for the most demanding aeronautic, national defense, and space flight applications, particularly those requiring complex surfaces and shapes. Barber-Nichols' manufacturing group is superbly staffed and equipped to handle your most rigorous conventional CNC and 5-Axis machining needs.

Barber-Nichols Inc. | 6325 West 55th Avenue Arvada, CO 80002 | Phone: (303) 421-8111 | Fax: (303) 420-4679 © 2015 Barber-Nichols Inc.