Experienced machined component supplier to the defense industry

Why 5-Axis Machining for Defense Components?

5-Axis Machining for DefenseCNC machine tools are used for machining—metal removal—in the defense markets. CNC machines are well-suited to meet the demands of defense markets that require tighter tolerances and better finishes. Much of the CNC equipment used to produce these parts in the past were two-axis (lathes) and three-axis (milling). Many of the more complex shapes were produced using a combination of these machines along with multiple setups. Thanks to advances in control, servo, and tooling technology, we can now accomplish 4- and 5-axis simultaneous machining. Having this 5-axis ability has significant advantages creating complex machine shapes.

Definition of 5-Axis Machining

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 ability to precisely move the work piece without removing it has distinct advantages over conventional three-axis machining. There are benefits of five-axis CNC machining:

1. Complex Shapes

The major (and most well-known) advantage of five-axis machining is the ability to machine complex shapes. The ability to machine in a continuous 5-axis move creates machining angles and arcs for the cutting tool and for chip relief that were only previously possible with a multitude of special fixtures or additional setups.

2. Improved Tool Life

Improve tool life and speed up cycle time as a result of tilting the tool/table to maintain optimum cutting position and constant chip load.

3. Setup Reduction

Five-axis machines can machine nearly every visible surface, excluding the bottom or clamping area. This ability significantly reduces the need for multiple setups or special fixtures. In some instances, it reduces the number of setups to one.

4. Improved Accuracies

Imprecision happens every time you have to “rechuck” the part. This tolerance stack-up is one of the results and challenges of moving a part for re-fixture. By using the same “zero” or “home” location, feature-to-feature accuracy is improved.

5. 3+2 Axis Machining

Not all 5-axis parts require full 5-axis simultaneous machining. Some 5-axis parts are best machined with a 3+2 movement. In 3+2 machining, the fourth and fifth axes are used to locate the work piece (or cutting tool, depending on the type of machine) in a fixed position. In these scenarios, there is no need for all five axes to move simultaneously.

Five-axis machining increases uptime, decreases human error, and eliminates the need for special fixtures. For parts with features or holes on multiple faces or angles, 3+2 machining is the clear choice.

6. Achieving Surface Finishes

Using the rotating fourth and fifth axes, the part can be orientated to bring it closer to the cutting tool. If the part can get closer to the cutting tool, then the cutting tool can be shorter. A shorter cutting tool is less susceptible to vibration at higher cutting speeds, which directly impacts surface finish.

As technology improves, so do the markets’ expectations for higher quality products at competitive pricing. To meet this challenge, Intrex has made significant investments in multiple-axis 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.

Program Management

Backed by more than 30 years’ experience, we have the infrastructure needed to make our customers’ program outsourcing successful.

Supply Chain Buyer

"Intrex has excellent customer service. They honor their commitments. I enjoy working with the entire team."

Aerospace Quality Manager

"We can count on Intrex to take critical to quality work. They are a superior company focused on quality and customer service."

Aerospace Supply Chain Manager

"Intrex is a strategic supplier of ours. We consider them our partner. We can count on them and when a key project is in their hands, I never worry."

Work With Us
Careers

We Need Your Skills

Intrex Aerospace is a growing, dynamic organization. We are proud of our rich and rewarding work environment. We place great value on our employees and recognize the key role they play in our continued success. Being in a growth industry, we are always looking to attract and develop new, motivated employees.

Apply Now