Increase productivity and profit with 5 axis machining

Increase Productivity and Profit with 5 Axis Machining

Copyright (c) 2010 Nadine Davis

Engineering is a dynamic industry which needs the capacity to respond quickly to advances in technology, changes in client requirements and the demands of the market. Precision Engineering Townsville has a response capacity that enables the organisation to provide high quality products to its client base.

While the technology and equipment for performing multi-axis machining has existed for many years, the applications are different for different industries. 5 axis machining is one method that reduces production time, by machining complex shapes in a single set-up. This ability provides a number of benefits to a production workshop as summarised below:

> An increase in productivity due to only having to perform a single setup (usually with just a single set of fixtures), in contrast to the other methods which need several setups at distinct and separate to achieve the same results. This saves, not only on the cost of the machining itself, but also the time and cost of preparing additional fixtures, as well as reducing the possibility of incorrect alignment by having to move the part more than once.

> Higher cutting speeds because shorter cutting tools can be used, as the head can be lowered towards the job. This alleviates some of the load on the cutter, which reduces breakages, thus increasing tool life. Also reduced is the reverberation that tends to occur more often on 3 axis machines, removing the requirement for time wasting and expensive manual mill work in order to clean up kellered surfaces.

> The ability to machine solid metal as opposed to castings – when producing complex parts this is an inexpensive and quick option, especially for small runs. It allows for much shorter led times e.g. one or two weeks as opposed to a couple of months that would be required to wait for a casting.

> Saves large amounts of time when drilling holes. This may not seem like a major benefit but time is money, and drilling a series of holes with different compound angles is very time consuming. The 5 axis machine gives allowance for the head to be aligned to drill each hole with automatically, where as with a 3 axis machine the holes need to be drilled separately.

The combination of reduced set-up times, savings on fixtures, reduced error rates and higher cutting speeds enables the job to be delivered to the client in a much shorter time frame, with little possibility of late delivery because of errors requiring re-machining. The individual businesses of each client will benefit because the components created using 5 axis machining are available on time and with high quality for the next step in their individual processes.

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