CIMdata PLM Industry Summary Online Archive

February 2005

Company News

Delcam To Support Siemens Aerospace Workshops

Delcam will support machine tool control developer Siemens in a series of workshops on the latest developments in aerospace machining to be held throughout the USA over the coming months. At the workshops, which start with meetings in Dallas on 15th February and Wichita on 23rd February, Delcam will highlight its newest strategies for five-axis machining of aerospace structures and engine components.

The major benefit of five-axis machining is the ability to machine complex shapes in a single set-up. This gives greater machining productivity compared to performing the job in a series of set ups, as well as significantly reducing the time and cost of preparing fixtures. Furthermore, with multiple set-ups, there is always a possibility of incorrect alignment each time the part is moved.

Another important advantage of five-axis machining is that it enables shorter cutting tools to be used since the head can be lowered towards the job and the cutter oriented towards the surface. As a result, higher cutting speeds can be achieved without putting excessive load on the cutter, so increasing tool life and reducing breakages.

The use of shorter cutters also reduces the vibration of the tool that can result when machining deep pockets or tall features with three-axis machines. This allows a higher quality surface finish to be obtained, so reducing, or even eliminating, the need for time-consuming hand finishing.

Another major benefit from the use of five-axis machining is the ability to machine complex parts from solid that would otherwise have to be cast or fabricated. As well as improving quality and consistency, this approach can also be much quicker and cheaper, especially for prototypes and small runs of parts. It can give lead times of one or two weeks, instead of two months or more that would be needed for castings.

Five-axis machining can give also huge timesavings in the drilling of holes in both metal and composite components. If a three-axis machine is used, a different set-up must be used for each hole. In addition to the extra time required, it is very easy to make a mistake when changing between a long series of complicated set-ups. With a five-axis machine, the head can be oriented along the correct axis for each hole automatically allowing drilling to be completed much more quickly.

"Successful five-axis machining depends on a number of factors," said Delcam Marketing Manager, Peter Dickin. "Too many companies put all their efforts into ensuring they purchase a suitable machine tool and give relatively little attention to other elements, including the machine tool control and the programming software, that are just as important in obtaining increased productivity. We are pleased to support Siemens with these workshops and so help US aerospace companies gain the maximum benefit from their investments in five-axis machining technology.


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