7 Reasons You Should Consider a 5-Axis CNC Machine

October 1, 2013

describe the imageFor most manufacturers investing in any CNC machine tool is a major decision, and well it should be. Operating costs continue to rise while competition and customer demands can drive profit margins down. So investing in new equipment is a serious proposition. Yet sometimes, in an effort to keep the initial investment to a minimum, some shops fail to see the bigger picture. Take 5-axis CNC machining centers for example. Some shops see 5-axis as overkill based on the way they’ve always operated. Yet there are many substantial reasons why investing in a 5-axis machine may be the most cost-effective move you can make. Here are 7 of them:

  1. New Opportunities. A simultaneous 5-axis machine is essential to maximize productivity when making complex parts such as turbine blades, impellers, aerospace airframes and many other applications. Because the 3 linear and 2 rotary axes move at the same time during the cutting process, the cycle time is greatly reduced. This kind of machining efficiency allows manufacturers to successfully compete for business in aerospace, automotive, medical and other major industries.
  2. Not Just For Specialty Machining. Over 60% of parts produced in metalworking shops require machining on 5 sides. A more efficient way of manufacturing these parts can make you more competitive, even on less complex jobs.
  3. Reduced Labor Cost-Per-Part. Every time an operator touches a part he or she adds cost. Although you can machine some parts requiring 5-sided machining by using multiple machine tools, consider the amount of operator time involved in moving the workpiece from machine to machine, and starting and stopping operations. A 5-axis machine eliminates this wasted time.
  4. Less Programming Cost. Instead of writing programs for more than one machine tool and for multiple operations, with a true 5-axis machine your programmer need only load only one CAD/CAM file and create a single program.
  5. Fewer Fixtures & Tools. Because the 5-axis machine performs all machining in one operation, you typically eliminate many costly fixtures, special tools and tool extensions.
  6. Improved Floor Space Usage. How many other machines can you eliminate or repurpose by adding one 5-axis machine? It’s not uncommon for shops to eliminate 4 or more lathes, VMCs or HMCs, or to make these machines more cost-effective by using them to produce less complex parts.
  7. Greater Spindle Usage. A 5-axis machine spends more time making parts because it isn’t sitting idle waiting for another machine tool to complete an operation. Instead it makes the complete part in one operation.

There’s much more to know about the advantages of 5-axis machining, and Gosiger has all the facts including cost justification examples based on real-world applications. Should there be a 5-axis machine in your future? One call to Gosiger can help you make an informed decision.

Demystifying 5-Axis 4