A 5-axis machining center makes chips by moving the cutting tool along five different axes simultaneously. The tool cuts along linear X, Y, and Z axes as well as two of three A, B, and C rotational axes.
The advantages of 5-axis machining are numerous. Components can often be completed in a single setup, reducing lead times and cost while increasing accuracy. Some parts contain complicated and curvy surfaces that simply cannot be machined any other way.
If there are any disadvantages to 5-axis machining, it’s the high initial cost. A simultaneous 5-axis milling center can easily require an investment of ten times that of a comparable 3-axis machine. Programming a 5-axis machine is also more complicated and requires considerable knowledge and experience.
Compass Precision has invested in eighteen 5-axis machining centers, a staggering amount for a firm with fewer than 150 employees. Many are equipped with multiple pallets and pallet changers, enabling unattended, lights-out production. Most of these machines also use the same type of controller and programming language. This makes it easier to move parts from one machine to another, providing surge capacity and back-up options in case of equipment breakdown.
Compass has also invested in the human resources needed to take full advantage of the benefits 5-axis machining offers. We hire only the best, most capable, and experienced CNC programmers and operators. We continually provide training for our existing staff. Additionally, we further differentiate ourselves by having most of our 5-axis CNC operators do their own programming. This eliminates hand-off problems between programming and operations while ensuring end results are what the drawings or models intended.
Nine of Compass’s 5-axis machines are Mikron models, four of which are less than three years old. Three others are Mazaks while another is a 13-year-old machine from DMG Mori. We also have five HAAS 5-axis mills. Our employees have carefully maintained these machines, an activity they love doing.