How Precision Turn Milling Produces Parts More Efficiently
Machined parts for the aerospace/defense/space markets are continuing to grow in complexity and precision. As this trend continues, capabilities in machine tools is required.
Many of these machined parts require both milling and turning. In the past, parts would be processed on a lathe and then moved on to a mill, or vice versa. This movement of the workpiece from machine to machine presented problems in both efficiency and precision. In response to this problem, machine tool builders have developed multi-axis equipment that addresses both turning and milling needs in a single machine tool package.
Turn/Milling (Multi-Axis Machining)
Traditional CNC machines move in three linear axes (X, Y, and Z). Multi-axis machines can move not only in three axes simultaneously but, with the right features, two additional axes can also be added for simultaneous machining. By adding an additional spindle, the workpiece can be transferred from spindle one to spindle two without operator intervention. This type of configuration can add considerable benefits to both efficiency and accuracy. Some of the benefits are as follows:
Machine Complex Shapes
The major (and most well-known) advantage of turn/milling (multi-axis machining) is the ability to machine complex shapes. The additional simultaneous axis movement creates machining angles and arcs for the cutting tool and allows for chip relief. In the past this was only possible by multiple setups and special fixtures.
Increased Tool Life
By being able to move the cutting tool in multiple axes, you are able to maintain optimum cutting position and chip load.
Turn/milling 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.
One of the challenges of having to move the workpiece from turning to milling is tolerance stack up (imprecision)—every time you have to move the part for re-fixture precise alignment can be lost. With turn/mill machines, workpiece movement is minimized. You are able to use the same “zero” or “home” location, feature-to-feature. Thus accuracy is improved.
Improved Surface Finish
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.
At Intrex, in order to meet the market demands of improved efficiency and quality, we have made significant capital purchase in turn/mill equipment. This enables us to remain competitive on cutting technologies.
We would welcome an opportunity to speak to you about addressing your supply chain needs. Contact Intrex Aerospace today.