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Horizontal kinematics and 5 axis machining

Is flexibility in conflict with productivity?

The basics - Why going 5 axis?

Why going 5 axis is the first question and most probably the most important. Most of the current production still runs in 3 and 4 axis machines and the existing solutions are excellent for those components.

There are several reasons why going to a 5 axis machine:
  •  Parts has complex shapes which will require multiple setups in a 3 or 4 axis machine
    • The possibility to minimise the operations and, consequently, minimise the human interaction with the part will result in higher part quality, less scrap rate, and, depending on the part, better cycle time
  • Parts are simple, but with 5 axis approach we can reduce the number of setups
  • Tools are too long and their performance is very low
    • If going 5 axis we can reduce the length of the tools, the productivity will increase and the tool life will decrease
  • Future view and opening new markets
    • There is a tendency in all sectors for more complicate shapes and lot of manufacturers want to come inside new markets such as aerospace or medical industry where the five axis machining is standard
The basics - Why going 5 axis?

Is flexibility killing the productivity?

Lot of manufacturers believe that going into a 5 axis kinematic will slow down their production. It depends.

If your company is running a high volume production on a 4 axis horizontal machine removing a lot of material and you move to a 5 axis vertical machining centre. Most of the chances are that productivity will decrease: chip evacuation is not in all cases optimal, recutting of chips may occur and pallet changing times are normally higher.

But if the same company moves to an horizontal machining centre with 5 axis table...things are changing. A machine such as a500Z:
  • Can perform 5 axis cutting
  • The horizontal concept is still compatible with light tombstones or multi clamping fixtures
  • The rigidity of the machine is similar to 4 axis machining centres
  • It has an standard pallet changer
In this situation, the machine will be able to keep the cutting performance, but in addition will be able to reduce the operations needed in the part. Resulting in the end, in an increase of productivity.

What is the optimal solution for you? The best way is consulting with our sales engineers, they have the experience to support you and guide you to the best solution to minimise your cost per part. 
Is flexibility killing the productivity?

How to automate a 5 axis machine?

This is probably the key point on 5 axis horizontal machining centres and there is no simple solution because very much depends on your production.

Machines such as a500Z, with an standard pallet, will be automated with flexible pallet systems such as PZ1, MMC2 or similar solutions on the market

Other machines like a81nx-5XR will need a different way to automate. Here we will need to automate, either with single part robot loading or with a flexible manufacturing cell such as our VIP system

Bigger size machine as MAG3.EX will need dedicated MMC2 solution for handling big pallet sizes.

Once more, the best solution comes from the consultancy service from Makino
How to automate a 5 axis machine?

What about programming?

No relief for this step. 5 axis is all about programming and manufacturers need to have a dedicated CAM program and someone skilled to use it. 

The Fanuc control which is incorporated in Makino's five axis machines has lot of features to make the programming easier.

- G68.2 - Tilted Working Plane - Used in 3+2 machining - This function is used on 5 axis milling machines to define a plane, tilted relatively to the machine table

-G43.4 - Tool center point control - Used in 5 axis simultaneous machining - This function makes tool length compensation even between blocks so the 

From Makino sides the options inside the controller are focused on giving the customer the best quality possible
  • Super G.I. 5 - Our Professional 6 interprets the points and smooth up the movement. The control also increases the look ahead to be able to react faster on the toolpath 
  • GI - Smoothing - Most of the controls are smoothing up the toolpath in the direction of the movement, this function is doing the same but on the surface to be machined, this way the lines between toolpaths are less noticeable 
  • GI-scrap - Professional 6 control can filter the  small errors from the toolpath coming from 3D model surface sewing issues.
What about programming?

Safety in 5 axis

Starting in 5 axis is for sure a scary point. What about crashes? Crashes can ruin this kind of investment really fast and approaching in 5 axis is quite common way where customers have this issue.

Simulating NC code is an "almost" safe way to prevent crashes, but not 100% risk-free. The good thing is that all Makino 5 axis machine are equipped with our Collision Safe Guard, which simulate the cutting process before is happening. The control simulates 300 msec in advance using the look ahead for the motors. This way we can assure that the position will be the real one and if detects a problem can stop the machine before it happens.

Going to 5 axis is scary, but that's why we have a team of application engineers and sales consultants. They will be able to examine your production requirements and propose the best solution and even offer support for starting.

Contact us
Safety in 5 axis