Here at I&G Precision Engineering, one of our main priorities is to ensure we are taking advantage of the latest innovations in technology to expand our capabilities. We have heavily invested in state-of-the-art machinery and programming software, all to the benefit of our production quality. 5-axis machining is one such innovation.
What is 5-Axis Machining?
5-Axis machining refers to using a CNC machine to manipulate a component along five different axes at the same time. For industries that require complex components to be intricately manufactured (such as Aerospace), 5-axis machining offers a whole host of benefits.
So what are the five axes that we are referring to? Sticking to our theme of aerospace, let’s picture a stunt plane in mid flight. The plane’s position in three-dimension space can be described by using three letters, X, Y and Z. But we all know about height, depth and width, so where do the other two fit in?
The other two axes refer to the stunt plane’s orientation rather than its position. Our fourth axis (labelled as A) describes the horizontal rotation of the plane, also visualised as a rotation around axis Z, height. The fifth axis is the plane’s rotation around axis Y, or ‘roll’.
(Diagram courtesy of engineering.com)
But then of course, what about the rotation around axis X? While using this method of defining a multitude of axes does indeed offer us six variables in which to work with, adding the sixth rarely offers any added benefits when it comes to component production.
What Benefits Does 5-Axis Machining Provide?
Accuracy & Intricate Capability
Straight away we can identify the benefits of having two additional dimensions to work with. 5-Axis machining provides extra angles for positioning your component or workpiece, and therefore adding more angles of access for a cutting tool. This gives us the ability to machine complex and intricate components much more efficiently, and to great degrees of accuracy.
Efficiency in Time & Materials
Thanks to the extra precision provided by the addition of 2 axes, 5-axis machining also produces less scrap material than 3-axis CNC machines. Not only does 5-axis machining improve material efficiency, it also helps us to improve cycle times by over 20%. Despite the added complexity of two extra machining dimensions, 5-axis machining is not as complex to program as one would expect, and the benefits of efficiency and intricacy massively outweigh the complexities, still allowing us to improve manufacturing times.
5-Axis Machining at I&G Engineering
These benefits provided by 5-axis machining technology have been important to the innovation on the I&G shop floor over the last six months. The added machining capabilities have helped us to improve our production of complex components for the aerospace industry, and fits nicely within the commitment to quality and precision that we live by.
In the closing months of 2019, we installed a Haas UMC-750 5-Axis Machining Centre to our workshop, and we have seen immediate benefits. With the reduction of manufacturing times and scrap, we have boosted our efficiency to a point where we are shipping between 600 and 700 finished and inspected workpieces each month.
5-Axis machining is just one of the innovations that we plan to implement here at I&G Engineering over the coming months. With the goal to constantly streamline our production processes driven by our assurance of quality and precision, our clients can expect improved shipping times and more intricate machining capabilities.
As we continue to invest in innovation and grow our capabilities, this opens up avenues for us to offer more services than ever before. Get in touch with our team today for more information on what we can offer you.