5-Axis Machining for Aerospace Components
Much of the machining in the aerospace markets requires use of multi-axis CNC simultaneous machine tools. The newer aerospace components require tighter tolerances and better finishes. In the past, many of the complex shapes were produce by a combination of 2-axis lathes and 3-4 axis machine centers. This required multiple setups. With advancement in control, servo, and tooling technology, we can now accomplish 5-axis simultaneous machining on a single machine platform. This ability presents tremendous advantages.
5-Axis Machining Defined
Traditional CNC machines move in two linear axes (X and Z) for lathes and three linear axes (X, Y, and Z) for machining center. The term “5-axis” refers to the number of directions in which the cutting tool can move. On a 5-axis machine, the cutting tool moves across the X, Y, and Z linear axes, as well as rotates on the A and B axes to approach the workpiece from any direction.
The 5-axis advantage has many benefits, including:
Machine Complex Shapes
The most obvious advantage of five-axis machining is the ability to machine complex shapes simultaneously. The additional ability to add simultaneous axis movement gives you the ability to create machining angles and arcs for the cutting tool and for chip relief, which were only previously possible with a multitude of special fixtures or additional setups.
Five-axis machines can machine nearly every visible surface, excluding the bottom or clamping area. This ability significantly reduces the number of setups or need for special fixtures. It can reduce the number of setups to one.
Tool Life Improvement
By having the ability to maneuver the tool or table into an optimum angle or position, you can maintain constant chip loads, resulting in increased tool life.
Tolerance stackup is one of the negative results of having to move the part to multiple positions to achieve desired chip removal. Every re-fixture compounds the problem. The 5-axis gives you the ability to minimize the number of fixturings, thus minimizing or eliminating stackup. Feature-to-feature ratios are maintained.
Better Surface Finish
By utilizing the rotating fourth and fifth axes, the part can be orientated to bring it closer to the cutting tool. This allows for shortening the cutting tool and helps eliminate vibration, improving finishes and increasing tool life.
Market expectations demand higher quality products at competitive pricing. To meet this challenge, Intrex has made significant investments in multiple-axis CNC equipment as well as systems software to oversee and control our entire manufacturing process.
We would welcome an opportunity to speak to you about addressing your supply chain needs.