Why Does 5 Axis CNC Machining Cost So Much?

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Why Does 5 Axis CNC Machining Cost So Much?

Why Does 5 Axis CNC Machining Cost So Much?

In recent years, five-axis CNC machining centers have been more and more widely used in various fields. In practical applications, when encountering the problem of efficient and high-quality machining of special-shaped and complex parts, 5 axis CNC machining technology is undoubtedly the most effective solution. However, the high cost and high price of the five-axis make its popularization slow. High-efficiency, high-quality processing corresponds to high investment.

Why is the price of five-axis equipment so high?

High price of mechanical parts
1. Take the core component of the double-swing milling head as an example, because it is difficult to process, requires high precision, and because of its small size and relatively small internal mechanical components, it is difficult to ensure high rigidity like a three-axis machine headstock. Therefore, the double pendulum milling head is made very large and heavy. Generally, this five-axis core component is only used in the five-axis machine with a large gantry structure. There are very few double oscillating milling heads below US$150,000 in the market, and the commonly used ones are US$500,000 to US$700,000.

5 axis cnc

The single pendulum milling head is 50,000 US dollars – 100,000 US dollars or even higher. The price of this model is high because it also has a swing angle milling head. Although there is only one rotating axis, the cost is still very high, and engineers in Europe and the United States do not like to use a simple single swing milling head. Generally, it is made into a 45-degree B swing. Programming is more difficult.

5 axis cnc machine

2. The double turntables commonly used on five-axis CNC machine tools range from $30,000 to $100,000 or even higher. Double turntable (cradle, cantilever): The most difficult is the A pendulum (or B pendulum), because the entire C axis turntable is fixed on the A (or B) axis, and the A (B) pendulum motor is at the swing angle, even if it is no load (The workpiece is not clamped), to overcome the weight of the entire C-axis assembly, the load is very large. If the clamp and the workpiece are added, the load will be doubled, so the accuracy and life of the double turntable are generally in A ( B) pendulum, C pendulum is relatively much less. This is also the fundamental reason why the double-turntable five-axis machine rarely processes steel parts [a turntable with a diameter of 800 DMG, the A-swing torque is as high as 5000NM, and it can only process workpieces of about one ton (including fixtures)], and this high-torque motor has The price is not affordable for the average person. But even so, the double turntable form is still the most among the five-axis machines, because this kind of five-axis machine is relatively less difficult to manufacture (compared with the model with a swing angle milling head)

The double turntables commonly used on five-axis CNC machine tools range from $30,000 to $100,000 or even higher.

3. In addition to the core components, compared with the three-axis CNC machine tool, the machine body casting of the five-axis CNC machine tool has many places to be processed, which is also difficult, and there are many accessories such as water, electricity, oil and gas, and the cost is also high.

The computer numerical control system is expensive

Five-axis CNC machining systems from Japan’s Mitsubishi and Fanuc, Germany’s HEIDENHAIN, Siemens, Rexroth, and PA are priced at more than $50,000. A set of real five-axis with RTCP made in China costs 20,000 US dollars, and the stability has yet to be tested (the reference price here is a five-axis with a similar size of an 850 three-axis machine, including the system, drive and motor.)

High cost to use and debug

The precision testing equipment for the three circular motions of ABC is very expensive. The three-axis laser interferometer is only 20,000 to 30,000 US dollars, and the detection of the five-axis CNC machining machine is currently only available from Renishaw in the United Kingdom. A set of 100,000-15 10,000 US dollars (including ballbar).

Why is labour cost for 5 Axis CNC Machining So High?

Few employees in five-axis CNC machining, programming, machine operation, etc.

Search the Internet for five-axis programming training, and there are very few related institutions. To send a job recruitment information, you must know five-axis programming (UG or POWERMILL, etc.) and be able to work independently. There are very few applicants. If you add a little more conditions, for example: you can customize post-processing according to different models, and you can turn and mill. Compounding (or milling and turning compounding), if you know a little about PLC, there is almost nothing. Therefore, the labor cost of five-axis machining is very high.

The application of five-axis CNC machining

The five-axis machine tools in private enterprises are all making some high value-added orders (high-end consumer electronics, high-end household appliances, high-end molds), and the processing objects are mainly made of aluminum alloys, supplemented by steel parts.

Most of the molds in the mold industry can be made by three-axis machines, but the molds with complex shapes and undercuts on the curved surface cannot be used with three-axis machines. There is also a mold that requires high curve requirements in the design of high-end products and must be cut through a knife, and a four-axis five-axis machine must also be used. When expanding to the mold industry, if the movement of the workpiece is like a three-axis machine, it only moves on a horizontal plane and is not affected by gravity, then there are only two options for the five-axis machine: double-pendulum milling head type and one-pendulum-transformation. 

The turntable of this model can be made very large and can carry large-weight molds, because the workpiece only moves and rotates in a straight line on the XY plane, and gravity has no effect on it. But the linkage of the rotary table C and B oscillating milling heads, plus XYZ, it is a true five-axis machine, which can process any complex surface. In addition, the rotary table has only one C-axis, and the manufacturing cost is greatly reduced compared with the cradle. Whether it is from the function, from the mechanical structure, or from the accuracy, from the perspective of manufacturing difficulty, this five-axis machine should be the perfect tool for processing molds. model.

Author: Mose Li

Author: Mose Li

Director of Project Engineering at 3Q Machining

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