Experienced machined component supplier to the defense industry

Advantages of 5-Axis Machining for Space Components

5-Axis CNC Machining for SpaceProviding machined parts for the space market requires being able to produce very complex shapes with very tight tolerances. Increasingly, machined parts are being produced on 5-axis CNC machines. Initially these parts were machined on CNC equipment. The machines were a combination of 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.

There are many distinct advantages in utilizing 5-axis CNC machines over conventional three-axis machining.

Fewer Setups

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

Improved Tool Life

Improved tool life and cycle time reduction can result in being able to tilt the tool/table to maintain optimum cutting position and constant chip load.

Complex Shapes

A  major advantage of five-axis machining is the ability to machine most complex shapes. The additional movement creates machining angles and arcs for the cutting tool and for chip relief.

Increased Relational Accuracy

Having to move the part into different chucking positions creates imprecision and tolerance stackup. Fewer chuckings and less re-fixturing leads to producing more precise parts. By using the same “zero” or “home” location, feature-to-feature accuracy is improved.

3+2 Axis Machining

There are parts that can only be machined with simultaneous 5-axis movement. But not all 5-axis parts require 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 for cutting tool access.

The same tool paths could have been achieved in a three-axis machine, but only after loading and unloading between multiple setups, fixtures, or machines. The five-axis machine 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.

Better Surface Finish

On 5-axis machines, by rotating the fourth and fifth axes, the part can be orientated to bring it closer to the cutting tool. Getting the part closer to the cutting tool allows for reduction in the length of the cutting tool. A shorter cutting tool is less susceptible to vibration at higher cutting speeds, which directly impacts surface finish.

As technology advances, so does the market’s 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