What Is a 5th Axis Rotary Table?

Posted on Jan 15, 2021

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5th Axis Rotary Table

A 5th axis rotary table is a precision positioning device that is widely utilized in the 3-axis vertical machining center, which turns the original machine tool to a 5-axis CNC machine. The simple installation and seamless interface make the 5th axis rotary table fit numerous 4-axis and 5-axis applications.

What is a 5th Axis Rotary Table?

A 5th axis rotary table is a precision positioning device that is widely utilized in the 3-axis vertical machining center, which turns the original machine tool to a 5-axis CNC machine. With the rigid cast frame and the ideal torque capacity, the small accessory is flexible in use and supports the various machining operations of the vertical machining center effectively. The simple installation and seamless interface make the 5th axis rotary table fit numerous 4-axis and 5-axis applications.
    
5th axis rotary table, like the basic level of the rotary table, is designed for accurately locating the work pieces in metal machining operations under rapid and high performance rotation. All kinds of rotary tables are popular to be employed in various metalworking equipment, larger tables and machines in order to perform accurate drilling, milling, boring, or adding other unique features on the metal parts at extremely precise intervals. The tooling operations are smoothly performed around the vertical or horizontal axes. To provide more flexible options of use and also even more precise positioning for machining, there are additional plates like index plates or dividing plates can be mounted on for more applications.

With the rise of modern CNC machines and 5-axis machining productions, there are more and more tailed 5th axis rotary tables or tilt tables manufactured to act as the additional axes, assisting the various cutting tools to remove the materials from the surface of work pieces, especially the place that is hard for the tools to reach. In a 3-axis machine, there are only X, Y and Z axes, which are the linear axes to perform the precision machining. The A, B, C axis in 4-axis or 5-axis machining centers are the additional, rotational working axis which are 180° work around the X, Y, Z axis correspondingly. By employing a 5th axis rotary table, the CNC machining center can add 2 rotational directions to not only increase the versatility of the machines but ensure more ideal accuracy in multiple face cutting. 

:: Read more: What Is Automatic Rotary Table?


Adding a 5th Axis Rotary Table to a 3-axis VMC

As mentioned, many shops achieve 5-axis CNC machining by mounting the 5th axis rotary table, which is much more cost-efficient than purchasing a new machine. The easy plug-and-play rotary table is easy to set up as the 4th or 5th axis, permitting a wide variety of complex, high performance machining. The great rigidity of the rotary table permits heavy load. However, the 5th axis rotary table takes considerable space of the 3-axis vertical machining center at the same time. As a result, the work surface is, in the arrangement, more suitable for relatively small parts, which refer to pieces that are smaller than 30 cm or less. On top of that, the operator needs to make sure the control system of the machining center is available for 5-axis operations.

Upgrading the machining center by installing the 5th axis table eliminates the extra finishing jobs performed in other machines or manual adjustments. This is especially beneficial for large volume production. The 5th axis rotary table allows the vertical machining center to create sophisticated and complex contours and add multiple features at desired angles. The arrangement of adding this rotary table to upgrade the machining center is suitable for blade, helical grooves machining and other applications required to create complex features or require critical inspection, like the productions of aerospace, automotive parts and scientific equipment.


Structure of 5th Axis Table and VMC

The 5th axis rotary table mounted on the vertical machining center provides great rigidity to ensure stable operations. With simple set up, the rotary table can save the cycle time and remove the need of secondary operations. The basic structure of a 5th axis rotary table consists of the disc table where the work pieces are firmly hold and secured, the rigid bearing which can support the forces and loads during the operations, the solid base or bed used for attaching the 5th axis rotary table to the 3-axis machining center or other component, and last but not least, the motor and the 
CNC power system. 


● Table Disc and Worm Gear:

The core of the 5th axis rotary table is the worm gearing meshing with the steel worm that is submerged in the lubricants. The bearings and the worm gears which typically have large diameters have ideal concentricity to ensure the smoothness, durability as well as utmost accuracy. The high performance tooling is performed on the surface provided by the table disc, where the work pieces are stably clamped. Under the guide of the CNC power system and the electric motor, the table disc can position the metal parts at exact intervals. The clamping element, which is the chuck with inner or outer jaws, grips the work pieces firmly to eliminate any movement that will affect the machining. When the work pieces are relatively wider, longer, the operator can choose a chuck with outer jaws to hold them. For more flexible or critical applications, the operator can add dividing plates which can be installed on this table disc.


● Computerized Control:

The worm gear and high precise rotation is driven by the programmed signals from the computer numerical control system. CNC power system ensures the simultaneous 4-axis or 5-axis motion, and the servo control is simple to fully set up. With the software and sequential instructions sent by the CNC system, the machining operations are more reliable and efficient, removing the need and cost of human supervision. The dimension as well as the type of electric motors can determine the actual router accuracy and also the efficiency of the 5th axis table.


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