At IMTS, many machine tool builders showcase their five-axis technology via simultaneous, choreographed spindle and/or rotary table movements, and complex demo workpieces such as turbine blisks, blades or impellers. These movements are not only impressive to watch, but are sometimes essential for a given application.
As you watch these demos at the show, call to mind some of the more prismatic, blocky parts you may currently be running across multiple machines. You might not have an application that requires full-five-axis contouring, but you might find value in 3+2 operations. For this, a machine uses its two additional rotary axes only to angularly position the tool and/or workpiece outside of the cut, after which it performs what amounts to a three-axis operation in that particular orientation. This setup commonly offers the tool access to five sides of a part in one fixturing, minimizing the number of setups, the number of machines that a part might otherwise have to run across, and thus the number of times a part is “touched” during production. Visit the Metal Cutting Pavilion located in the South Building to learn how you might leverage five-axis machining in your shop.
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