5-axis milling is basically a technique by which materials can be cut. Using this equipment, a rotating cutter can be moved through space to a discrete contact point on a work piece and cut with any discrete plane on the milling cutter. In order to accomplish this cutting process, only 5-axix mill of motion are required to accomplish this; whereas, additional axes are redundant.
In USA, at present there are more than 15 original equipment manufacturers of five-axis machining centers. The price range of 5 axis mill machine centers vary from USD 500,000 to more than USD 1,500,000. However, there are less expensive five-axis machining centers on the market today have a starting price of about USD 250,000. In recent years, there are myriads of companies that have already begun offering a dedicated 5-axix mill machining center that is simply a tilting rotary table that is integrated into the table of the mill. Many a times, there is a rotary table only, and the spindle offers the tilting capacity. Although there are some limitations when it comes to size and weight, these hybrid machines are also very expensive.
In both vertical and horizontal 5-axis milling, there are two additional axes that are added to the existing X, Y and Z axes. These two axes are typically a rotary axis that rotates around the Z axis and a tilting axis that rotates around the other two axes, i.e. Y or Z axes. Currently, there are three primary ways of achieving simultaneous five-axis milling. The techniques are as given below:
• A dedicated five-axis machining center
• A tilting/rotary or trunnion table
• A spindle head attachment
The techniques used to achieve simultaneous 5-axix milling in different industries as aerospace, energy production, oil and gas, medical, woodworking and mold-making are similar; however, each industry has specific applications and needs that determine how a given manufacturer gets the job done.