What are the benefits of multi-axis machining?
Multi-axis machining centers offer several benefits over standard CNC machining due to the additional axes. Key advantages include:
1. Complex geometries
One of the most significant advantages of multi-axis machining for manufacturers and businesses is the ability to create more complex parts. The additional axes enhance capabilities and add directions of movement, enabling the tools to create high-precision, high-complexity, intricate components. Producing parts with complex geometries facilitates efficient, effective manufacturing processes in industries that require precision parts that must meet quality standards, such as the aerospace, automotive and military sectors.
2. Improved accuracy
Accuracy is vital when manufacturing parts that play a critical role in underpinning safety and efficacy and it can also help manufacturers to save money and reduce waste. Multi-axis machines provide a greater degree of accuracy, which is consistent across multiple orders or products. With cutting-edge machinery, you can create large numbers of parts at high speed without worrying about compromising on quality or accuracy.
3. Shorter cycle times
Multi-axis machining centers reduce cycle times significantly, facilitating efficient processes and fast turnaround times. Some projects and applications have tight deadlines and restrictions linked to lead times. Using multi-axis CNC machinery can help organizations to shorten cycle times and reduce lead times to boost efficiency and cater to a wide range of customers.
4. Better surface finish
Multi-axis machines provide a better surface finish because the cutting tool is closer to the part that is under production. This shortens the required length of the tool, which lowers the vibration rate and creates a smooth, high-quality finish.
5. Higher throughput
Multi-axis CNC machining is capable of producing parts quickly in line with customer demand. This means that throughput is higher and that solutions are scalable. Manufacturers in some industries, for example, may prefer to place frequent orders for small quantities rather than ordering large volumes of parts in one go to simplify inventory management and make budgeting easier.
6. Greater competitiveness
Manufacturers and businesses can gain a competitive advantage by capitalizing on the benefits of innovative, efficient multi-axis CNC machining centers. This cutting-edge technology enables manufacturers to work at high speed and save money while providing high-quality parts.
7. Reducing dependence on human labor
CNC machining reduces dependence on human labor, providing solutions for businesses looking to scale up operations without adding to the wage bill. Modern machining provides an alternative to traditional, manual techniques, offering a faster and more efficient and cost-effective means to produce high-quality, complex parts.
8. Enhanced quality
Quality is essential not only for creating parts that will last and fulfill their required role, but also for company reputation. Multi-axis machines can enhance the quality of parts because they require fewer setups, which minimizes the risk of errors and inaccuracies.
How do CNC horizontal machine centers compare to CNC vertical machining centers?
CNC machine centers are often categorized as vertical or horizontal. A vertical machining center has a vertically-oriented spindle axis. A horizontal machining center has a spindle that runs parallel to the floor. The movement of the spindle means that the machines are suitable for different applications. Vertical machine centers are often used for milling, boring, drilling, thread cutting and applications that require access from the top of the object. Horizontal machine centers are often used for milling slots, grooves and rivets and they work best for uninterrupted manufacturing processes.
Which option is best?
There are pros and cons of both vertical and horizontal CNC machine centers. It’s best to evaluate the advantages and disadvantages based on the individual project, but here are some key differences and benefits to consider:
- Size: vertical machining centers are generally smaller than horizontal machining centers.
- Cost: vertical machines are generally less expensive than horizontal machining centers.
- Flexibility: horizontal machining centers are more flexible and versatile than vertical machining centers.
- Productivity: horizontal machining centers are more expensive than vertical machining centers, but they are also more productive, which enhances value for money.
A universal machining center comprises a spindle that can be oriented either horizontally or vertically.
Leading manufacturers of vertical and horizontal machining centers include:
- DMG MORI
If you are unsure which type of CNC machining center would be best for your project, it’s wise to seek expert advice.