CNC Machining for Die & Mold Industry

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CNC Machining for Die & Mold Industry

Dies and molds are shaping tools crucial to mass production in the manufacturing industry in the present day. Sheet metal and other forms of metal are shaped using different processes such as stamping, forming, etc., depending on dies. Molds find utility in injection molding, for instance, melted resin or casting molten metal. Dies are mostly associated with metal, while molds with plastic.

The materials used for dies and molds, such as steels with carbon or chromium content die steel, high-speed steel, and cemented carbide, are difficult to find procured. To balance this shortage in supply, dies and molds are cut using machining centers or other CNC machining tools. The cut dies and molds are further subject to grinding to improve precision.

CNC machining to cut dies and molds ensures high tolerance, precision, repeatability, and consistency. Modern techniques are sophisticated that micro-order precision molds and dies can be generated. This largely contributes to mass-producing products with the same quality and shape.

Needs and Challenges of Die and Mold Industry

It is important to analyze and understand the needs of the die and mold industry and the challenges faced to comprehend the advantages that 5-Axis CNC machining can offer. Here is a list of challenges faced posed to the Die and Mold industry:

  1. The die and mold industry is capital intensive.
  2. While the manufacturing costs are consistently increasing, the price of molds and die are stagnant, thus threatening the survival of market players.
  3. Automation of shops is a hurdle. There is also a scarcity of skilled personnel in operating machines that create dies and molds. In-house training facilities are not very prevalent either.
  4. The greatest challenge to the domestic market is shifting mold-making to overseas sources.

Apart from the above challenges, the most important challenge is machining in itself. Die and mold-making undergo long cycle times and single-piece applications of high-value workpieces. Maximum thermal stability is crucial for accuracy and flawless blending. At the same time, the entire process should run at optimum speed.
The industry requires technology to help manufacturers work cost-effectively but produce highly precise goods of large quantities at shorter times. This necessity makes 5-Axis CNC machining the best solution to salvage the situation.

5-Axis CNC Machines for Die and Mold Industry and Products

Advanced Technologies Used in Die and Mold Industry A 5-axis CNC machining can effectively get at more features of a workpiece. With 5-Axis CNC, even the smallest of molds can be built. Its use in the injection molding processes benefits mass-production parts, pieces, and goods. The entire machining process can be promoted with shorter tools and rigid construction. This will eliminate the process of post-machining such as EDM, hand benchwork, etc. CNC machining is the most suitable as parts and designs are getting more complex day by day. Shorter production times and better product quality are the basic requirements that customers put on us. A few uses and benefits of 5-Axis CNC machining in the die and mold industry is elaborated here:
  1. 5 Axis CNC machines generate contoured surfaces.
  2. Complex dies and molds can be manufactured without having a lot of special fixtures and time-consuming setups.
  3. In 5-Axis CNC machining, the tool holder can be tilted away from the adjacent pocket walls. This promotes the use of shorter tools without the risk of collisions.
  4. Since 5-Axis CNC machining works only on one setup, operational costs are largely reduced.
  5. 5-Axis CNC machines use shorter tools and thus increase precision and efficiency.
  6. Ball nose end mills are positioned to increase the effective cutting diameter.
  7. Tool life is increased, and part costs are reduced using multi-flute cutters.
  8. Barrel-shaped tools have contoured profiles and provide a sloped workpiece surface with wider cutting contact. With large stepovers, a better surface finish can be reached.

Advanced Technologies Used in Die and Mold Industry

The CNC machining tools used today are packed with components that are advanced in technology. A few of these technologies include the following:

  1. Tighter servo turning and better responsiveness is achieved due to advanced, digital servo designs with improved feed axis smoothness. This ensures reduced cycle times and improved accuracy.
  2. Tilt and rotation axes designs are ushered in by direct drive motor technology. This eliminates slower, wear-prone rack and pinion-type designs.
  3. Core-cooled ball screws aid in controlling the heat generated by positioning the machine’s axes, utilizing temperature-controlled fluid. Core-cooled ball screws ensure shorter warm-up cycles, reduced stabilization temperature, less thermal growth, tighter accuracies, and longer component life.
  4. Positioning accuracy and repeatability are attained using high precision, optical glass, non-contacting scale feedback developments.

The Future of Die and Mold Industry

Die and mold are pivotal for industries like packaging, plastics, auto components, electronics, electricals, machine tools, etc. We have been consistently witnessing the evolution of the die and mold industry over the years. The die and mold industry is one of the major contributors to the global economy.

New opportunities such as aluminum metal injection molding, automation in the die casting process, high demand from construction activities, 3D printing, casting, and forging techniques are driving the market forward. It is estimated that the Global Die and Mold Industry is set to reach US$95. 1 Billion by the year 2027.

Conclusion

The Die and Mold Industry is the mother industry of all manufacturing verticals. Given the current global economic and technological circumstances, it is necessary to direct the die and mold industry towards optimized costing, improved efficiency, and advanced forecasting. The 3D printing for prototyping, 5-Axos CNC precision machining, rapid tooling systems, using advanced CAM/CAD tools will drive the growth of the die and mold sector.

Ethereal Concrete 3D printer – India’s first automated concrete laying machine

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Ethereal Concrete 3D printer - India’s first automated concrete laying machine

Ethereal Machines is proud to announce its latest creation, India’s first automated concrete laying machine – a Concrete 3D printer (Patent filed). Concrete 3D printing technology has the potential to enable housing for millions of people.

At present, we are testing out formulations of the concrete mixture to optimize build time and enhance the durability of the printed structure. In-depth details of our technology, materials used, and projects are undertaken will be released soon.

Our initial attempts will be on the lines of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan to 3D print toilets across India. India has an estimated urban housing shortage of 18.8 million dwelling units and a rural housing shortage of 47.4 million units. With the Ethereal Concrete 3D printing technology, we hope to cater to this lacuna. We will also be targeting low-cost housing, remote location construction, and emergency relief constructions.

We strongly believe that every Indian family is entitled to a stable abode. Better infrastructure is the harbinger of a bright prospective future for our country. Automating the construction industry is the only approach towards achieving that goal, as it will lead to faster and cheaper construction techniques. It also enables in reaching out to hinterlands where building structures is cumbersome.

A drastic pivot in the construction industry is long overdue as traditional methods of infrastructure construction have a few drawbacks. The current processes are expensive, slow, labor-intensive, generate a lot of construction waste, difficult to implement in remote areas and do not allow for complex shape creation. These methods create economic and logistical hurdles for low-cost housing, rapid and emergency relief construction.

We strongly believe that every Indian family is entitled to a stable abode. Better infrastructure is the harbinger of a bright prospective future for our country. Automating the construction industry is the only approach towards achieving that goal, as it will lead to faster and cheaper construction techniques. It also enables in reaching out to hinterlands where building structures is cumbersome.

Our initial attempts will be on the lines of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan to 3D print toilets across India. India has an estimated urban housing shortage of 18.8 million dwelling units and a rural housing shortage of 47.4 million units. With the Ethereal Concrete 3D printing technology, we hope to cater to this lacuna. We will also be targeting low-cost housing, remote location construction, and emergency relief constructions.

At present, we are testing out formulations of the concrete mixture to optimize build time and enhance the durability of the printed structure. In-depth details of our technology, materials used, and projects are undertaken will be released soon.

Ethereal Halo – The world’s first consumer oriented 5-axis CNC and 5-axis 3D printer

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CES 2018 Best of Innovation Awards Honouree

New York, NY, 9th November 2017 – Ethereal Machines today announced that it has been named a CES 2018 Best of Innovation Awards Honoree for Halo, designed to bring about metamorphosis to the world of manufacturing and user the concept of hybrid manufacturing.

Products entered in this prestigious program are judged by a preeminent panel of independent industrial designers, independent engineers, and members of the trade media to honor outstanding design and engineering in cutting-edge consumer electronics products across 28 product categories.

Ethereal HALO is a machine that introduces Hybrid Manufacturing to the world and combines both the technologies of subtractive manufacturing and additive manufacturing into one bundle, designed to bring about metamorphosis to the world of manufacturing and usher the concept of hybrid manufacturing. We’ve pushed the boundaries of today’s technologies to build the world’s first consumer-oriented 5 axis CNC router and 5 axis 3D printer to initiate the concept of hybrid manufacturing. Being the first Indian Company to win Best of Innovation at CES makes it all the more special.″ says Navin Jain, Co-Founder & CTO. Ethereal Machines’ Halo will be displayed at CES 2018, at booth number 9503, LVCC North Hall, which runs January 9-12, 2018, in Las Vegas, Nevada.

About CES Innovation Awards

The prestigious CES Innovation Awards are sponsored by the Consumer Technology Association (CTA)™, owner and producer of CES 2018, the global gathering place for all who thrive on the business of consumer technologies and have been recognizing achievements in product design and engineering since 1976. Products chosen as CES Best of Innovation Honorees reflect innovative design and engineering in some of the most cutting-edge tech products and services coming to market. CES 2018 Innovation Honoree products are featured on CES. Tech/Innovation, which lists product categories, as well as each product name, manufacturer information, description, photo, and URL.

About Ethereal HALO

Ethereal HALO is the panacea for consumers and institutions that rely on FDM 3-D printing (a temperature-controlled head extrusion of thermoplastic material) but are limited by the capabilities of 3-axis 3-D printing. Designed after several iterations to blend into both formal and informal spaces with its seamless lighting and sharp edges, Halo provides an unmarked view of the work in progress and a surreal view of the next revolution in the manufacturing industry

An Introduction to 5-axis CNC Machining

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What is 5-Axis CNC Machining?

In Simple terms, CNC (Computer Numerical Control) machining refers to the process of removing material with high-speed precision machines that make use of a large range of cutting tools. The “5-axis” refers to a machine’s ability to move a tool or a part in five different axes simultaneously. On a 5-axis machining center, the tool moves across the X, Y, and Z linear axes and rotates on the A and C (also say B) axes simultaneously to approach the workpiece from any direction. In other words, you’ll be able to process a part from 5 directions in a very single setup.

What's the Difference Between 5-Axis Machining vs. 3+2 Axis Machining?

5-Axis Machining

5-axis CNC machining offers three linear axes and two rotational axes that job simultaneously to achieve complex surface machining.

3+2 Axis Machining

The 3-axis CNC machining offers a 3-axis milling process, with two additional axes to rotate the holding tool in a fixed position against manipulating it repetitively during the machining process.

Advantages of 5-axis Machining

A 5-axis CNC Machine helps you work on closer tolerances to achieve complex geometries while a 3+2 axis setup allows you to hold less complex parts in positions that allow better access to the features. The Simultaneous 5-axis machining technology raises the bounds on the types of part geometries you’ll machine. By allowing you to produce highly complex components during a single setup, these 5-axis CNC machines unbridle the imaginations of your engineers and redefine your overall capabilities. Equipped with the abilities of machining plenty of materials, to disrupt the manufacturing industries. Some of the benefits of the 5-Axis CNC machine are mentioned below.

Minimized steps

Fewer steps are needed to be made to create complex geometry. It uses a 5-axis technology to create the geometry compared to the traditional machining way. Multiple setups are possible with 3-axis machining but one can minimize the number of steps required to create the final design. It ensures more efficiency and reliability along with higher productivity.

No need for complex fixtures

Often with the 3-axis machine, complex fixtures are required to be made to create orientation and eliminates the requirement of creating the right kind of fixture. The foremost purpose behind this is that the part can be held once and rotated so that the geometry can be created effortlessly. 5-axis machining provides a great ability to make complex shapes in a single setup that leads to saving time, money, and operator error and these are the most predominant reasons behind using this machine.

Fast removal of material

The 5-axis machine allows the cutting tool to remain perpendicular to the cutting surface and therefore allows the cutting easier and faster removal of material. This also lessens the cycle times and the expenses, as well as more material, can be easily removed in every cycle of the tool. One can also check the CNC drilling procedure and it is too pretty much better compared to the other conventional methods.

Better surface finishing

If you are looking for a machine with a better surface finish then this machine is best suited for you. Compared to the traditional 3-axis machine, one can achieve smaller cuts and a good surface finish that results in better lead times and time to market. 

Conclusion

All-in-All The 5-axis machining technology helps in the cost-effective manufacturing of complex designs. Investing in a 5-axis CNC Machine will make an enormous difference to your business’s efficiency, productivity, and most importantly to your bottom line profits.

What’s the Difference: 3,4, and 5-Axis Machining

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3, 4, and 5 Axis Machining - Detailed Distinctions

One of the most crucial techniques in CNC precision machining is milling, which has applications in manufacturing mechanical components used in medical sciences, aerospace engineering, manufacturing complex machinery, and more. The milling process involves rotary cutters, which help take out material from a workpiece. Milling is performed by fixing the workpiece at a specific angle to the tool’s axis.

Differences Between 3, 4, and 5-axis Machining

The fundamental difference between 3-axis, 4-axis, and 5-axis machining lies in the movement’s complexity allowed to both the workpiece and the cutting tool, relative to each other. Greater complexity in the motion of the two parts, more complex will be the geometry of the final machined part.

The number of axes on a CNC machine depicts the type of work that it can perform, the level of intricacy achievable in the final part, and the workpiece points that the machine can work upon.

Your preferred choice for a milling machine depends on your exclusive requirements, level of intricacy required, and budget. However, if you run an SME, then consider buying a tabletop CNC mill as it can get the job done with decent results without denting your budget.

Aerospace components demand unparalleled precision, which makes 5-axis machining suitable for the job. However, a 3-axis machine is the one for you if you only need it to dig holes.

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3, 4, and 5 Axis Machining - Detailed Distinctions

The workpiece remains still, and only the cutting tool is allowed to move along the three axes to mill the component. 3-axis machines have extensive applications in machining 2D and 2.5D geometry. 3-axis machining only operates on three axes, which makes the process simple. It enables removing the material in these three axes, described by back to front, side to side, and up and down.

The 3-axis milling fails to design features on an angle to the X-Y-Z coordinate system, irrespective of the feature’s planar quality. This machining process is ideal for manufacturing planar milled profiles, performing drillings, and threaded holes in line with an axis.

Machining a part from all six sides has become possible in 3 axis machining; however, it requires a new fixturing setup for each side. This implementation can get pricey. For a single fixture setup, you can machine only one side of the component.

4-Axis Machining

4-axis milling is similar to the process involved in 3-axis machining, where a cutting tool takes out material from part to create the required shape. This machining process is economical for machining components, which is theoretically attainable even on a 3-axis machine. Unlike 3-axis machining, the -axis the machining process is performed on an additional axis along with the 3-axis of rotation. For a single fixture setup, a user can machine four sides of a component.

A 4-axis CNC machine uses the X, Y, and Z axes, besides another axis of rotation, and is around the X-axis. It is referred to as the A axis. A 4-axis machine does not require fixture change-overs. This benefit provides tighter tolerances which are held between features on various sides of the component.

There are two types of 4-axis CNC machining:

1. Indexing
2. Continous

Indexing in 4-axis CNC machining occurs when the 4th axis undergoes rotation while the machine is not taking out any material. Upon choosing the correct rotation, a brake is applied, and the cutting resumes.

Continuous 4-axis machining is when the machine can take out material simultaneously with A-axis rotation. This feature facilitates the machining of complex arcs, like the profile of cam lobes and helixes.

5-axis machining traverses all axes of the 4 axis machining besides yet another rotational axis, which helps render unparalleled precision and intricacy in the geometry of components. Such intricately crafted parts are utilized to produce artificial bones, aerospace components, car molds, titanium pieces, architectural, medical, military stocks, and many more.

The 5th axis of rotation occurs around the Y-axis in the X-Y-Z plane and around the B axis. Such multidimensional rotation and part movement deliver unprecedented precision, finish, and work speed during the construction of a component. These precision parts are crucial for high-level implementation, like aerospace and flights.

5-axis machining lets you perform single-step machining, which reduces lead time and promotes the convenience of access to the part geometry. It also strengthens the tool life and process efficiency by tilting the table for precision cutting.

Implementing 3, 4, and 5-Axis Machining 

The 3-axis machine is suitable when you do not require the highest-grade precision in manufacturing but need some degree of quality. It is ideal for –

  • Automatic/interactive operation
  • Milling slots
  • Cutting sharp edges
  • Drilling holes

4-axis machining is a multifunctional and relatively economical process than 3-axis machining and is considered suitable for cases where you require –

  • Intermittent cutting
  •  Engraving on curved surfaces
  •  Continuous cutting

5-axis machining is ideal when you require unprecedented precision and intricacy as the manufactured parts are used in crucial industries like aerospace, medical sciences, and others. It is ideal for:

  • Higher quality finishes
  • Enhancing productivity
  •  Feature accuracy
  •  Machining complicated shapes
  •  Cutting intricacies in components

Conclusion

CNC machining is effective (operation-wise) across several manufacturing-intensive industries as it offers notable advantages, including enhanced product quality control, standardization, and greater precision.

CAD technology is used in CNC machining to automate the process of cutting and shaping. The axes count in a milling machine determines the type of movement attainable by that particular machine.

Peter Jacobs

Peter Jacobs

Peter Jacobs is the Senior Director of Marketing at CNC Masters. He is actively involved in manufacturing processes and regularly contributes his insights for various blogs in CNC machining, 3D printing, rapid tooling,injection molding, metal casting, and manufacturing in general.

CNC Machining in Plastic Industry

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CNC Machining in Plastic Industry & Importance of 5-Axis Machining Technology

The most economical and efficient technology for high-speed manufacturing of lesser than ten plastic models or prototypes is called the Subtractive method or CNC machining. Subtractive method, because it involves the removal of material.

Plastic CNC machining uses digital milling machines to manufacture plastic product parts in the mass of a plastic block. The functional testing environment is best suited for high-speed prototyping technology for unit production. The product part is from a wide variety of resins that help manufacture the plastic part of the product of the suitable material.

CNC machining does not use molds, thus reducing costs. The machines manufacture several identical parts of the same quality. The metals and thermoplastics used in production facilitate the making of products of the desired physical properties.

Impact and Size — Plastic Industries Contribution to the World Economy

Globally the size of the plastic market in 2020 is approximately USD 579.7 Billion. From 2021 to 2028, the estimated compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.4%. The increase in demand for plastic from the automotive, electrical, constitutional, and electronic industries supports the growth in the market.

Regulations to increase fuel efficiency by decreasing the weight of vehicles reduces the harm to the environment through harmful carbon emissions. That encourages manufacturers to switch to plastic parts rather than steel or aluminum in automobile manufacture.

There is an emerging trend for plastic in the construction industry in countries like Brazil, Mexico, India, and China that has further spiked up production. The need for better public and industrial infrastructure has led to the easing of FDI norms. That has contributed to an increase in foreign investment and the growth of the plastic market.

The demand for plastic decreased due to the pandemic. That is because the industries that use plastic, cut down their production to curtail the disease. But the need for testing kits, gloves, ventilators, etc., to combat the disease saw a rise in demand for plastic.

The Indian plastic industry has grown significantly since its inception in 1957. There has also been a speedy diversification in the industry. It employs more the 4 million people across the country with more than 30,000 processing units. Of these, 85-90% are small or medium enterprises.

What Is the Scope of CNC Machining in the Plastic Industry?

CNC machining can process any material and has unlimited applications that aid several industries, and various applications use it. It works for direct, indirect processes of manufacturing and in collaboration with other procedures. CNC plastic machining technologies have led to sophisticated plastic milling machines that are indispensable for multi-sided machining. The process completes complex parts of low volume in a single setup reducing time and saving energy.

Plastic CNC milling is distinct in its benefits over injection molding, 3D printing, and rapid prototyping. It works with a wide variety of materials with tight tolerance and is economical. CNC machining prototype productions are not limited in their use in one sector.

Scope of CNC Machining in Various Industries

Aerospace

The use of CNC machining in the aerospace industry is of old. The industry requires high precision metal components. CNC provides excellent options to the manufacturers because of its compatibility with a wide range of engineering metals.

Automotive Industry

The automotive industry needs prototyping and production, which CNC milling machines provide. It helps in the manufacture of axels, valves, etc., out of the extruded metal. CNC machining helps make the plastic components necessary for making the dashboard and such others.

Consumer Electronics

CNC machining in the production and prototyping of electronic gadgets like laptops.

Notable Applications of Plastic Machining

Plastic machining offers more merits than demerits. Manufacturers opine that it is the best alternative to create a wide variety of parts and products like:

1. Equipment for use in the laboratory and other scientific purpose
2. Equipment to handle chemicals.
3. Food package and handling.
4.Components of semiconductors.
5. Photonics.
6. Microelectronics.
7.Devices for biomedical and pharmaceutical

The importance of 5-axis CNC machining in the plastic industry is not much understood because they are rare. They work on 5 out of the 6 axes coordinate systems in the same setup. To put it simply, the machine in one setup — can work on 5 sides of a product part. Only the base will be left out.

The noteworthy part about this is all the 5 axes work together simultaneously. It works to remove material on each surface of the product part other than the base and the clamping area. While the 3 axis machine does the process in multiple setups and manually operated rotations, the 5 axis does it in the same configuration.

CAM software can program the 5 axis machines. The recently manufactured machines are made with better technology and are easy to use. The machine costs more than the other machine but does the work faster, thus breaking even.

Benefits of the 5-Axis Machines

5-axis CNC Machines work with the highest precision with multidimensional rotation to work on all sides of the workpiece. It is preferred to produce components that need intricacy and detailing.

Increases the Life of the Machine

The constant chip load can be regulated, and the cutting position can be optimized to improve its cycle time and life.

Better Surface Finish

The machine head can be lowered and appropriately orient the cutter. That enables work at high cutting speed without pressurizing it. The vibrations are lesser to give the finished product a smoother surface.

Complex Parts Made Sooner

When complex parts are manufactured with less sophisticated machines, they must be cast first. Casting takes months to do. But the 5-axis machine does not require casting, and the products are ready within a few weeks.

Works on Complex Contours Efficiently

The 5-axis machines give a more accurate and smooth surface than any other machine, and it manufactures precise contours. It can even make a perfect sphere. No other machine can produce such accurate contours.

They Provide a Higher Rotational Accuracy

3-axis machines require a change of setup to work on a piece. However carefully it is done, there will be a positional error that brings down its accuracy. But as 5-axis offers better accuracy as it manufactures the part in one setup. It can manufacture many complex shapes with accuracy to fit. Such accuracies are required to maintain tight tolerance.

Conclusion

The CNC machining process cannot be missed while searching for the best manufacturing process for plastic parts. The 5-axis machine requires fewer setup changes that’s why they are fast and effective. The added advantage of a 5-axis machine is that it manufactures parts with more precision and is cheaper.

Everything you Need to Know about CNC Machining in Aerospace

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CNC Machining - The Perfect Manufacturing Solution for Aerospace Industries

One of the most critical factors while producing components for aircraft or associated structures is certainty. Any flaws or inconsistencies could have devastating effects from the smallest indoor element to the plane’s exterior.

The extraordinarily excessive precision required by the aerospace enterprise makes CNC machining an appropriate production method for the sector. The functionality of this method is to acquire very tight tolerances. Thus, it offers strong resolutions and functioning of the aircraft using robust metallic and plastic elements.

What is Aerospace CNC Machining?

The Aerospace CNC Machining process involves the manufacture of parts for assembling and servicing aircraft and space shuttles. It uses kits, components, and assemblies that are essential for crafting in the aerospace industry. This is to ensure that aircraft parts are of high-quality material so that the aircraft components function safely.

Innovations in CNC Machining for Aerospace

The world’s aerospace industry has been providing innovative and exceptional manufacturing technologies for years. The expanded horizons of technology have led to a severe demand for machined components. Aerospace CNC machining has become one of the most widely used manufacturing technologies in aerospace engineering. Precision and accuracy are of paramount importance in the aerospace industry. A single defect or defective component can cost thousands of dollars to spacecraft and space stations and pose enormous safety risks.

Applications of CNC Machining in Manufacturing Aerospace Components

Even if someone is new to CNC machining practices in the aerospace industry, some important points show how it works and what are its main applications:

1. Light Metal Materials

The most frequently used metals are aluminum and titanium in the aircraft industry because of their immense strength. They are lighter than steel and other metals, and they improve the aircraft’s fuel consumption and overall performance.

2. CNC Rapid Prototyping

Research and Development is an important area in every industry, and CNC machining is at the forefront of this phase. 3D CAD models direct CNC machines to manufacture parts, allowing aerospace engineers to quickly develop, test, and edit new prototypes in real-time. CNC rapid prototyping is economical for aerospace companies because it does not require investment in tools and minimizes costs. It also facilitates aerospace companies to meet regulatory requirements, including AS 9001 and ISO 9001: 2015 standards.

3. Complex Construction and Design Manufacturing

The construction complexity of aerospace components is constantly increasing. To meet these requirements, 5-axis CNC milling machines help to manufacture even the most complex parts.

4. AI-Assisted CNC Machining

The latest CNC machines in the aerospace industry have artificial intelligence (AI) complemented by machine learning software. This combination allows aerospace companies to accurately identify manufacturing indicators and seamlessly meet their aerospace component manufacturing goals. Thus, enhancing the quality and durability of machined aerospace components.

5. Precision

The aerospace industry relies on third-party manufacturers to procure various components. These components have tight tolerances and must mesh exactly with other workshop parts. With precision CNC machining, aerospace companies can meticulously manufacture components to specifications and achieve tolerances up to 4 μm. In an industry where the failure of in-flight parts is unacceptable, CNC machining offers unmatched accuracy.

The Importance of Precision in the Aerospace Industry

Precision machining is a fundamental aspect of the aerospace industry. The aviation industry has many high production standards for CNC machining of aerospace parts and stricter security controls.

Each part’s dimensions, tolerances, and performance should be as high as possible to prevent these parts from failing during flight. A single defect or imperfect component can cost thousands of dollars on an aircraft or space station and pose a significant safety risk to the end-user. For this reason, aerospace machining companies are working hard to meet all these requirements. At the same time, the aircraft should be apt enough to meet the demands of the market.

The state-of-the-art CNC processing system, certified manufacturing service CNC mechanical system, advanced post-processing, and inspection system ensure that the finished aircraft prototypes and parts accurately meet the standards.

Materials Used in Aerospace CNC Machining

Millions of elements and substances make up an aircraft. However, not all are generated through CNC machining. CNC machining uses numerous substances in handing over targeted and conscientious layout and production strategies to ensure they are prepared for changing conditions and demanding structural loads. Some of the fundamental materials used include:

  • Stainless Steel is used for building several aerospace additives. It is famous because of its immunity to corrosion and excessive temperature oxidation. It is utilized in aircraft panels, excessive temperature engine elements, gasoline tanks, exhaust additives, etc.
  • Aluminum is nearly a 3rd of the burden of stainless steel, assisting in fuel performance and weight allowance, and is normally inexpensive and more workable. It is a heat conductor, so it is not always suitable for parts that require high heat resistance and are more difficult to weld.
  • Titanium has a remarkable strength to weight ratio. Military planes employ titanium for lighter, more potent parts, which can be reasonable as well. It is heat and corrosion resistant and much lighter than aluminum. It is a great approach to diverse, complicated aerospace strategies.
  • High-Temperature Super Alloys characterized by excessive heat and corrosion resistance, advanced energy, and lightweight structure are frequently preferred for a jet engine’s hottest sections, the turbine and compressor stages. Some of the outstanding alloys are – Nickel Superalloys, Cobalt Superalloys, and Iron Superalloys.
  • Many indoor parts of the aircraft come from High-Performance Plastic polymer-based substances. These materials are considerably lightweight and are utilized in wiring conduits, indoor wall panels, bearings, plane doors, air flow ducts, and much more. They are strong, lightweight, inexpensive, and meet aerospace fire retardant regulations.
Due to the complexity of CNC machining of aerospace parts, it is advisable to use a 5-axis milling machine to configure many of these parts. The 5-axis CNC machining involves the operation of machines with precision and accurate CNC. In this process, the cutting tool and the part move up to 5 axes simultaneously. The 5-axis machine meets the high-performance standards of CNC machining of aircraft and responds better to the technology and scope of aerospace components. It manufactures parts that meet the tolerance and deadline requirements of the consumers.

Market and Scope of Aerospace CNC Machining

CNC machining helps create parts needed for the engine’s smooth functioning, whether it is a freighter, fighter, or airliner. Aerospace machining is important for managing the cockpit. Small interconnected components make up a navigation system that helps an airplane move from one place to another. CNC machining helps optimize critical parts such as aircraft wings and create CNC machined parts for the aerospace industry, guaranteeing a safe and efficient flight.

Conclusion

Since the aerospace industry is popular for following industry standards and using high-quality products and parts, the delicacy of aircraft applications is evident. It makes it imperative to manufacture high-quality parts to cater to the functionality and effectiveness of the working of the aerospace industry. Aerospace CNC machining provides the solutions this industry needs with safety, security, holistic management, and risk management in mind.

Importance of 5-axis CNC Machining in Automobile Industries

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5-axis CNC Machining - A New Future in the Automotive Industry

Automotive is a fast-growing industry, and according to some experts, the growth is exponential compared to five decades ago. A large part of this growth can be attributed to automation, with electric mobility, driverless cars, and ride-sharing reshaping the industry model as we know it. These new modalities have increased the demand and use of automation and robotics in the production and design of automobiles. CNC machining is one such automation technology that is being touted as the future of the automotive industry.

CNC or Computer Numerical Control machining allows for higher efficiency and lower costs than traditional manufacturing processes in high demand. Read on as we discuss the application of 5-axis CNC machining in the automobile industry in greater detail.

Facts About 5-Axis Machining Centers and High-Performance Machining Centers

Before we get into the application and importance of 5-axis CNC machining to the automobile industry, let us first understand some facts related to 5-axis machining centers –

  1. A 5-axis CNC Machine (also known as 5-axis Machining Center) is a CNC machine tool that uses five different axes to remove or cut material. Compared to a 1-axis machine which only provides two motions up and down, a 5 axis machine has two extra axes, which provide endless possibilities for machining. These additional axes allow a part to be cut from all directions and further allow undercutting without any need for re-positioning. With re-positioning being eliminated, a 5-axis machine reduces errors and wastage of time.
  2. A 5-axis CNC machine improves accuracy compared to traditional machining. For example, suppose a 6-sided part needs to be machined using a conventional machine. In that case, it will require multiple fixtures and extra operations, which will affect the accuracy of the result.
  3. There is no substitute for a 5-axis machine. It comes with control options such as tool center point control (TCPC), auto-tuning, and many other features that make setup quicker. So if you are looking to substitute a 5-axis machine with a trunnion-equipped 3-axis VMC, think again.
  4. High-performance machining provides similar results as 5-axis but requires engineering and machining understanding to get full proof results. High-performance machining is an umbrella term covering high-speed machining, high feed milling, chip thinning, etc. The best part- you do not require extra tools to implement high-performance machining. You can get high-quality results like reducing cutting forces and tool deflection by upgrading your CAM system and using high feed milling. High-performance machining, however, requires specific cutting tools to be effective.
  5. All 5-axis machining centers are different. There are machines with tilt rotary tables attached to a 3-axis machining center and machines with integrated tilt rotary. Before choosing the 5-axis machine to buy, it is important to look into the accuracy you desire, machine cost, and even the size of the workpiece.
  6. Using 5-axis machining with various work holding options, you can machine multiple parts per cycle.
  7. The biggest advantage of the 5-axis machine tool is the flexibility and reduction in lead time. A 5-axis machine reduces works in progress and makes for better workforce utilization.

CNC Machining for the Automotive Industry

CNC machining has been a gamechanger for the automotive industry in speeding up manufacturing and improving the precision of produced parts. Products produced using 5-axis machining have better consistency and require high automation and low labour intensity. This has made cars using parts produced by CNC machining more reliable. Some additional benefits of using CNC machining in the automobile industry are enumerated below:

  • CNC helps with building engines that have higher tolerances and efficiency. The technology allows for complex geometries to be introduced inside a car engine.
  • CNC has improved the reliability of car engines and helped amp up production to meet the high demand for cars. Manufacturers can produce cars faster by using CNC technology.

The automotive industry increasingly demands precise and sophisticated parts, making 5-axis machining a must. 5-axis machining does away with the need for multiple machine setups and results in shorter production times and high precision cuts. Another big pro of 5-axis machining for car manufacturing is the repetition factor.

CNC machining allows the same car to be replicated multiple times with ease. From gearboxes produced using milling, turning, and grinding, high precision drive axle produced to complex headlight and backlight designs produced, CNC has many applications in the industry.

CNC Automotive Technology: A New Future in the Automotive Industry

CNC machining is undoubtedly the future of the automotive industry. The process helps with faster and precise prototyping by using computer control and automation. Using digital files in a computer sequence transmitted to physical tools leads to higher precision in CNC machining than other technology. CNC operations can be carried out using both 3 and 5-axis machining and live tool turning, making CNC an incredibly versatile process. CNC operations work on materials in various ways, leading to more complex parts.

This also gives it a broad range of applications when producing auto parts. For example, the use of CNC machining to produce cylinder heads. Cylinder heads are auto parts that come with complex curves, involving a dual movement of the workpiece that can only be accomplished using a 5-axis machine. Also important to note is the sustainability aspect of CNC machining, a conversation that has gathered momentum in the automobile industry in recent years. CNC machining processes reduce waste by providing high precision and accuracy in the parts produced. In addition, CNC machining involves using a single piece of equipment that does all the jobs. Different machines would carry out different jobs in other machining types.

Conclusion

With CNC machining, manufacturers can save the space required to house additional machines while saving energy and reducing carbon footprint. As climate change concerns rise, automotive industries can make their operations more eco-friendly using CNC machining. New technologies like driverless cars also get a solid boost from the application of CNC machining.

CNC machining that uses AI can produce precise and high accuracy parts required for self-driving cars that need quality results. CNCs can manufacture electrical and mechanical components of such cars and other operations like mold making, laser machining, mechanical components like brake shoes, ruled-based programmed engine parts, heat sinks, front panels, etc.

As the parts of driverless cars need to be identical, using AI-assisted CNC will help improve surface quality and accuracy. Electrical components of autonomous vehicles, including radar sensors, optical instruments, membrane switches, adapters, connectors, sockets, etc., can be produced using CNC machining. It is undebatable that as CNC machining becomes more accessible, its role in the future of the automotive industry will also assume more significance.

The Ultimate Guide to 5 Axis CNC Machining

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The Ultimate Guide to 5 Axis CNC Machining

The 5 axis machinery has transformed the manufacturing industry and boosted production quality and time efficiency in industries as varied as automotive and agriculture.

CNC Machining in aerospace is also being widely used because of the demand for high precision and accuracy. But how do 5 axis CNC machines work? What are the benefits to manufacturing, application of 5 axis machining, features of these machines? For answers to all these questions and more, check out our detailed guide on 5 axis CNC machining.

What Is a CNC Machine?

First, let us understand what a CNC machine is and how it works. CNC Machines use computers to control machine tools which are where is the term CNC-Computer Numerical Control comes from. The cutting operations conducted by a CNC machine are termed CNC machining. Numeric control is an important concept related to CNC machines. It refers to the automatic control of machine tools which range from welders and grinders to waterjet cutters and hydraulic press machines.

A 5 axis CNC machining uses a Computer Numerical Control (CNC) center to move five different axes simultaneously. Traditional machinery operates on three axes, but with 5 axis CNC machining, 2 extra rotational axes are added. With the multidirectional CNC machining approach, the cutting tool can cut a part from all directions, resulting in fewer errors.

The addition of the extra two axes allows 5 axis CNC machines to position the parts to the cutting tool in a more suitable position, with all 5 sides of a part being accessed simultaneously. In the case of CNC machines with 2 axes, parts might need to be repositioned for better results. In this way, CNC machining saves time and achieves better quality results.

Features of 5 Axis CNC Machining

Five Axis Machining

As already mentioned, 5 axis machining benefits machining through its five axis. This machining allows for simultaneous and innumerable spatial machining possibilities, especially useful for machining complex contours and shapes.

Flexibility of Machining

Five axis machining tasks usually involve spatial positioning, improving flexibility, and reducing the costs of using multiple tools. Five axis machining also results in improved quality of machined surfaces. For instance, in the case of machining an inclined surface, five axis positioning has the functionality of precise positioning so that the material is removed in a single step. Not only does this functionality create better materials in reduced time, but it also allows for more efficient use of tools.

Tool Guidance

Five axis machining comes with the option to guide the milling tool in five axes to change the angle of the tool along the milling path. The milling tool is guided in five axes to the component’s surface in five axis machining. This functionality allows for better cutting speed and cutting conditions and flexibility with geometric cutting requirements.

Reduced Machining Time and Better Surface Quality

The free geometrical orientation gives axis milling reduces machining times significantly. As five axis machining requires short and sturdy tools, the milling allows for better cutting values, higher cutting rates, and reduced vibrations on the tool cutting edge.

This, in turn, results in better surface quality and accuracy. The minimal vibrations also result in more stable machining, which reduces the number of tools needed and more stable processes, ultimately decreasing tool costs.

Better Cutting Speed

A 5 Axis CNC machine provides higher speed machining compared to standard machining. High-speed machining reduces process forces between the tool and the workpiece, minimizing heating and ultimately positively impacting surface quality and tool life.

Advantages of Using 5 Axis CNC Machines

Simple Setup

CNC machines are easy and simple to set up, reducing prep time and improving efficiency. CNC machines also involve a single setup process which reduces errors resulting from multiple setups involved in each machining stage.

Improve Accuracy

As mentioned, CNC machines are simple to set up and also involve fewer manual settings. This improves the accuracy of the final machining part. The 5 axis machines are also constructed with higher mechanical quality, which results in higher quality finishes and reduced vibrations.

Complex Designs

Complex designs, shapes, and contours can be more easily machined using 5 axis machining. Examples of complex parts that can be machined using 5 axis technology are injection molds, hydraulic systems parts, oil and gas equipment, etc.

What to Look For When Purchasing 5 Axis CNC Machines?

Application

One of the most important considerations when choosing a 5 axis machine to buy is the application. For example, one needs to know the cutting speeds needed for the machine and the type of spindle. Moreover, what material is intended to be machines? Will the material being machined be aluminum, titanium, or steel? The surface quality and accuracy that is desired will also impact the purchasing decision or the kind of machine that is bought. For a high degree of tolerance and durability, it is important to consider the machine’s construction.

Adequate CNC Processing Power

Ensure the processing power of the CNC control is high enough to compute, calculate and control the number of axis used simultaneously.

Spindle Heat and Cooling

Heat control management in the spindle and the frame is essential for any 5 axis CNC machine. Heat control helps with both longevity and also the accuracy of machined parts. The effective cooling mechanism is also a crucial consideration when purchasing a 5 axis machine as it will prevent overheating of the spindle during intensive machining work.

When choosing a 5-axis machine, consider one that comes with a cooling system that cools in sections and uses an oil jet bearing lubrication and cooling system. Compared to manufacturers that use grease packs or air oil-lubricated spindles, oil jet bearing lubrication provides more secured temperature conditions for bearings.

High Power

Work done by a 5 axis machine requires a high tolerance. The machine needs a rigid spindle and tool holder that removes vibrations for high-accuracy machining to succeed. Ensure that the tool holder system uses either BBT or HSK to eliminate vibrations. Further, the machine should provide an excellent connection between the spindle and the tool holder.

Collision Avoidance

When purchasing a 5 axis CNC machine, make sure to consider one that comes with collision avoidance systems as crashes can be majorly costly. As the 5 axis increases the possibility of crashes, buying a machine without a collision-avoidance system will cost the consumer both damaged parts and time wasted.

Customer Support

When purchasing a 5 axis machine, consider choosing one that comes with excellent customer support. A 5 axis machining requires operator training, support for technical service, available spare parts, and much more. Therefore, it helps to research and choose a company that provides all this.

Conclusion

The 5 Axis machining has revolutionised machining in aerospace, medical, automotive, oil, and gas industries. The demand for machining more complex contours and surfaces in the parts used in these industries means that 5 axis machining provides the best results.

The 5 Axis machining is also especially useful when more flexible engineering solutions are required for the job, which is provided by 5 axis machining’s ability to move parts in various axis. All in all and irrespective of industry or application, it can be concluded that 5 axis machining results in lower operational costs, precision in machining complex parts, high performance, accuracy, and reduced lead time.

Vincent Hua

Vincent Hua

Vincent Hua is the Marketing Manager at TSINFA. He is passionate about helping people understand high-end and complex manufacturing processes. Besides writing and contributing his insights, Vincent is very keen on technological innovation that helps build a highly precise and stable CNC Machinery.

5-Axis CNC for Precision Machining

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What is CNC Machining?

Computer Numeric Control (CNC) machining is when materials are removed using high-speed precision machinery with a wide range of cutting tools. These cutting tools work on 5 axes in a single setup to deliver a final product. CNC machining implements subtractive machining technology.

A 5-axis refers to the ability of the machine to move a tool or part in five different axes at the same time. While basic machines operate on X, Y, and Z axes, 5-axis machining has two additional axes, A and B axes. This enables the machine a multidirectional approach. The machining can access five sides of the tool or part as the CNC controllers move all five axes simultaneously. Since the machine uses advanced 5-axis CNC controllers, it can manufacture complex tools. It offers high accuracy, efficiency, repeatability, and precision under very little time and minimal setup.

CNC machining uses Computer-Aided Design (CAD) to design a product and Computer-Aided Manufacturing (CAM) to program the manufacturing processes. This programming is fed into CNC machines, and the entire process is carried out through automation. This means there is a minimal manual process. Utilizing CAD/CAM mitigates human error, reduces time in designing, manufacturing and helps speed up processes. This ensures large-scale flawless production with high precision.

Strategies to get the most from 5 - Axis Machining

Collecting Information and Communication

The simplest and most efficient strategy that can be used is to gather all the information available before commencing the machining process. Speak to the customers to get accurate and complete information regarding the quality and specifications.​

Full Simulation Softwares

After a program is received from the CAD system, full simulation software can help verify the process before it is fed into machines. This will help rectify errors and accommodate rectifications in the design. It is better to verify ahead rather than fix models after making them.

Innovative Work-holding

Identify peculiar options for work holding that can access all sides of tools. Rethinking the designs can help in changing work holding. This eliminates complex setting up processes and reduces manual handling.

Tooling for 5-axis CNC

Specific tools are designed for high-speed 5-axis machining. Choosing different quality tools can help achieve specifications to customer satisfaction. Automatic tool changers with multiple stations will help in easily locating and loading tools to have them available for any application.

Choice of Machines

Make sure to equip the machining to match the job at hand. A solid base is necessary for handling high speeds. The controls need to be fast and powerful. Spindles should be enabled to move up to 40,000 to 50,000 RPM. All the axes have to move simultaneously to ensure accuracy and surface finishing. Choosing the machine with the right options will enhance productivity and reduce errors.

Run Kinematics

Make sure to equip the machining to match the job at hand. A solid base is necessary for handling high speeds. The controls need to be fast and powerful. Spindles should be enabled to move up to 40,000 to 50,000 RPM. All the axes have to move simultaneously to ensure accuracy and surface finishing. Choosing the machine with the right options will enhance productivity and reduce errors.

Ultrasophisticated Machining Capability Provides Time and Money Savings

The additional axes and mobility of the workpieces in 5-axis platforms help cut parts geometrically. With this, complex shapes can be achieved quickly and easily. The 5-axis CNC combines different standalone operations reduces part handling and multiple clamping phases during the process, thus increasing the final product’s accuracy. Shorter cutting tools with less vibration and deflection, higher cutting speeds, tighter tool movements, and improved finishing are achieved as the spindle head operates closer to the workpiece.

The 5-axis CNC is very cost-effective. Production output increases while cycle time, costly work fixtures, and wastage are reduced due to the consolidation of axes into a single setup. CNC machining is an efficient and economical choice. It also offers a faster lead time, and the quality of production turnaround is better than machines with fewer axes. These features and advantages of CNC machining help precisely manufacture higher quantities of final products at an appreciably very low time, and all chances of errors are removed.

Is 5-Axis Good for Your Business?

Simple Setup

The 5-axes rotations remove the necessity of taking breaks to set up the machining process. Expect the bottom and clamping area, and all surfaces can be worked on. Even complex products can be completed with a single setup

Suitable for Complex Shapes

The 5-Axis CNC machining does not require multiple setups or additional features. It gives quick access to different machining arcs and angles. With up to 8 degrees of freedom, complex shapes can be generated with precision, large quantities, and low error rates.

Better Tool Cycle and Lifespan

The collision between the cutting tool and tool holder is minimal in 5-axis CNC machining, thanks to more degrees of freedom. This means that the tool’s lifetime and the cycle are improved.

Accuracy of Parts

Various industries require precision in the machinery used in different processes. Removing workpieces to change setups leads to loss of alignment and precision. The quick and fast movements in all desired directions in 5-axis CNC machining eliminates the need to move the workpiece to different workstations. Thus, the precision of complex parts and surface finishing can be maintained and delivered with 5-axis machines.

Fast Material Removal

The cutting tool in 5-axis CNC machining is placed tangential to the workpiece. This ensures faster removal of material, and time spent on tools is saved.

Benefits of 5-Axis Machining in Precision Milling

The presence of five axes in CNC machining gives it an operational edge over other machines. The benefits of 5-axis machining in precision milling are:

1. The ability to machine complex shapes and parts due to 8 degrees of freedom.

2. Lack of need for multiple setups or special fixtures.

3. Increased feature and part accuracy due to a greater number of axes.

4. Better surface finishing because of increased tool precision.

5. Reduced Part Hand Setups, and usage of Fewer Machines.

6. On-demand production of parts because of increased efficiency and faster manufacturing speeds.

7. Reducing costly workpiece fixtures and redundancy in tooling.

8. Increase production rate and decreased chance of errors because of faster operation and shorter setup to set-up.

Conclusion

Different industries such as aerospace, automotive, consumer electronics, defense, healthcare, oil, and gas require precision machinery. With 5-Axis CNC machining, complex and intricately designed parts can be manufactured with high levels of precision in less time.

CNC machining ensures repeatability and consistency. 5-Axis machining ensures meeting cost and time efficiencies and also longevity of tools produced. With the advancements in technology, it is sure that 5-axis CNC machining is the best choice for manufacturing machinery that requires high precision and zero errors.