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Diamond ‘Flex-Hone’ Tool Enables Sikorsky Helicopters to Overcome Production Stop

Sometimes the most experienced technicians or skilled toolmakers need to look to specialists outside when it comes to solving critical service problems.

Such was the case when a legendary helicopter company was confronted with a worldwide problem in cleaning scale from a small, outsourced part that was preventing it from proceeding with production of its helicopters all over the world.

The problem was a carburized bearing surface delivered by a supplier of Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation, designers and builders of the world's most advanced helicopters for commercial, industrial, and military use.

“We attempted to remove this scale with a carbide reamer and a diamond lap - to no avail,” says Tony Lawrence, Tooling Services Manager for Sikorsky Product Center Core Services.

“The material in question was 9310 [alloy steel], and very hard, around 66RC (Rockwell C scale hardness),” Lawrence explains, which required a tool of equal toughness to do the job properly. He notes that his group had used diamond Flex-Hones, available from Los Angeles-based Brush Research Manufacturing in a very limited set of applications previously, but certainly not for this high volume situation they now faced.

The Flex-Hone is a ball-style tool characterized by a shaft with small, abrasive globules that are permanently mounted to flexible filaments. The tool, which can be mounted in a hand drill motor or a machine tool chuck, is used for finishing or resurfacing of the hard metals, ceramics and other tough materials used in items such as ports, sleeves, and cylindrical bores.

The flexible hone is available in many sizes with a wide selection of grit material, allowing the tool to be matched with a variety of materials from very hard, heat treated alloys to softer, non-ferrous.  Custom sizes and grits are also available directly from the manufacturer.

In the case of Sikorsky, the flexible hone needed to be constructed with diamond crystal grit. Brush Research offers a diamond flex-hone in a variety of mesh sizes that can easily produce finishes on hard materials to a range of Ra of 0.1 to 0.15µm.  Sikorsky also needed the diamond hones in a very small size and large volume – yesterday.

Brush Research produces very slender hones for tiny IDs, but also produce tools for use on large jet engines that required hones 10-15-inches in diameter. The Flex-Hone is also in wide use throughout many other industries, including automotive, firearms, machine shops and other types of manufacturing.

For more information, contact Brush Research Manufacturing, Brush Research Mfg. Co., Inc., 4642 Floral Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90022; Phone: (323) 261-2193; Fax: (323) 268-6587; email: info@brushresearch.com or visit the web site: www.brushresearch.com

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