Northrop Grumman recommends Siemens CNC technologies for use by F-35 supply chain

To achieve high-tolerance machined parts for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program, the company is "strongly encouraging" its supply chain to explore use of Siemens Sinumerik Volumetric Compensation System.




Grumman F35 fighter plane


In June, Siemens Energy & Automation, Inc. announced that Northrop Grumman Corp. Aerospace Systems is "strongly encouraging" its supply chain to explore the use of Siemens Sinumerik 840D solution line CNC and Sinumerik Volumetric Compensation System (VCS) to achieve high-tolerance machined parts for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program.

"Siemens collaboration on the F-35 program began in early 2002 with a CNC technology symposium in Fort Worth attended by Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and BAe Systems," said Tim Shafer, director of Siemens Aerospace Center of Competence in Mason, OH. "Since that meeting, the program partners have applied the advanced features of the 840D to solve many of their complex machining challenges."

To find the right equipment to produce these high-tolerance machined parts, Northrop Grumman and its technology partners invested in developing and testing advanced technologies that would enable a step-change in machine tool accuracy. Northrop Grumman's testing revealed that a number of key machine tool attributes are necessary to achieve the required high-tolerance machined parts. These include robust machine design, machine tool repeatability, machine tool responsiveness, environmental temperature stability, and stable machine foundation.

The Sinumerik 840D sl CNC, from Siemens Motion Control business unit, can provide real-time internal compensation for geometric and feedback errors of a five-axis machine tool. In operation, The 840D sl's VCS solution factors all the machine kinematics of its various axes of motion, as well as pitch, yaw and roll. This corrects the tool center point and orientation, resulting in a substantial improvement in volumetric accuracy for fork-head style five-axis machines.

At the end of August 2009, Siemens is expected to make a significant announcement about improvements in CNC programming capabililities.Visit for a sneak preview.


See also: Machine control: Long bed CNC gantry mills achieve unprecedented accuracy
A Siemens Volumetric Compensation System and proprietary temperature compensation system combine with laser calibration to achieve +/- 0.003 in. accuracies.


- Edited by Renee Robbins, senior editor
Control Engineering News Desk

Machine Control, Motion Control news from Control Engineering



Siemens CNC VCS errors diagram

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