5 Axis Horizontal Machining Centers Guide

What are 5 axis horizontal machining centers?

With the similar principle but reverse version of construction, CNC 5 axis horizontal machining centers are as popular as the vertical counterparts. The CNC 5 axis horizontal machining centers can deal with multiple techniques like milling, drilling, and boring. The concept of multi-tasking machining is derived from conventional machining centers in the last two decades of the 20th century.

Since then, the derivation of this specific type of machine tools has made much progress in the industry. After that, 5 axis horizontal machining centers are profoundly applied in various applications of the precision industries. Such related fields including 3c consumables, aerospace sector, and medical apparatus, etc. In other words, the invention of 5 axis horizontal machining centers attains the achievements in both industrial and commercial fields.

The operation principle of a 5 axis horizontal machining center

A machining center utilizes spinning tools to automatically remove materials from the surfaces of workpieces. As the mechanism keeps advancing the tools, it helps achieve different cuts with the variations in the depths and shapes. What makes it called horizontal is related to the installing orientation of the spindle. 

On a horizontal machining center, the spindle movements are parallel to horizon as well as the workpieces under general arrangement. However, this is merely about the construction of a conventional machining center. To achieve the 5-axis machining orientations, it should rely on the automation of the mechanism and the design of worktable. 

How is 5-axis machining achieved?

The conventional machining center is equipped with at least three axes of machining orientations, including x, y, and z-axis. With the general arrangement of the spindle and the workpieces, the machining orientations are limited to merely three axes. The three-axis machining orientation contains not only the adjustment of machining positions, but also the cutting directions.

The difficulty in the limitation of machining orientations lies in the fixed position of the cutting tools and the workpieces. In order to fulfill the additional two axes, the keys are on the head and the worktable. Dating back to the concept of the “5-axis”, it refers to the x, y, z, a, and c axes. The x-axis and y-axis are perpendicular to each other, and the z-axis is further perpendicular to both the former ones. As for the a-axis and c-axis, they respectively indicate the tilting and rotary movements of the worktable.

The more axes the machining center encompasses, the more cutting angles are available. As mentioned above, the keys to the achievement of the 5-axis is the head and worktable. The head on 5 axis horizontal machining centers may come in standard and swivel forms. The former usually comes with the rotary table, since this type of table makes the c-axis dimension, and the swivel head adds up the multiple-angle cuts for the workpieces. The latter would be in combination with the trunnion table, which reaches the a-axis with the tilting function it has.

Depending on the need of operation, the available machining dimensions are interchangeable. There are three versions of the use on the 5 axes, including 4+1, 3+2, and full 5-aixs versions. The 4+1 version contains four cutting directions and one positioning axis for the workpieces. The 3+2 version has three cutting directions and two positioning directions. As for the full 5-axis one, all 5 axes are available for being applied as the cutting directions. These mechanisms are all under the control of computer numerical control that makes synchronized actions perfectly match within tolerance standard. 

Reaching the flexibility, precision, and productivity isn’t difficult.

When in conjunction with the computer numerical control, which is the CNC technology, the flexibility, precision, and productivity can all be realized on the 5 axis horizontal machining centers. The flexibility can be seen on the multiple tasks and machining orientations this machine is able to handle. By several available machining techniques and variable cutting angles, making products with intricate shapes is no longer a difficult thing. 

Besides, the 5 axis horizontal machining centers realize the feature of precision by means of the CNC technology. The CNC technology refers to the computerized control of the parameters regarding the machining process. Through careful calculation before the operation begins, including the control of cutter position, the cutting depth, and the cutting speed, etc., are all feasible with optimal precision.

Moreover, the 5 axis horizontal machining centers can also compensate better productivity, which is what the manual operation lacks. Thanks to the CNC technology, it prevents the deviation of cutters and the deformation of products. The fewer chances that there is failure during the process, the more smoothly the process go through. In other words, the 5 axis horizontal machining centers eliminate the waste of time and effort during the process, and thus enhance the productivity at the same time.

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