How 5-axis Machining Delivers a Better Surface Finish
5-axis machines offer many benefits including enhanced accuracy, increased part complexity, higher productivity, and more design flexibility. A better surface finish is a key benefit of using 5-axis machining that is often understated. You may be wondering - why is surface finish so important? For many applications, a part’s surface finish can have a big impact on mechanical performance and longevity. Surfaces that are rougher create more friction than smooth surfaces and tend to wear more quickly. Additionally, the roughness of a surface is directly related to reliability since surface irregularities are often where corrosion or breaks are initiated.
Critical parts like impellers, blades, and valve bodies must operate reliably, leaving little room for error. These parts require smooth, consistent movement for the lifetime of the part. To achieve the necessary part performance and longevity, it is critical that OEMs partner with a proven machine shop, like ABS, that utilizes advanced technologies, such as 5-axis machining, to deliver high-quality, complex parts with better surface finishes.
How Do 5-axis Machines Achieve a Better Surface Finish?
Traditional CNC machines are able to move along 3 axes: the X-, Y- , and Z-axes at the same time. 5-axis machines are able to operate along these 3 axes as well as 2 additional rotational axes, A- and B-, for a total of 5-axes working simultaneously. In general, the more axes a CNC machine can operate on, the more intricate geometries it can fabricate. Thus, 5-axis CNC machining has a huge advantage over traditional CNC machines and is able to manufacture complex parts that may not be possible with conventional CNC machines. So how does a 5-axis CNC machine actually achieve a better surface finish?
A better surface finish starts with a simplified setup. Simply put, the workpiece can be completed by only clamping into a 5-axis machine one time. This is a huge shift from traditional CNC machining that requires multiple setups in order to rotate the part orientation to perform the desired cutting and machining steps. Each time the part is removed and reinserted into a new position, there is an opportunity for misalignments and errors. 5-axis machining requires a single setup since it is able to work on every surface of the part at once. A simplified setup leads to more precise manufacturing and increased reproducibility compared to traditional 2 or 3-axis machines – resulting in faster machining and higher quality products including a better surface finish.
Have a complex part that requires a smooth, high-quality surface finish?
Contact the team at ABS to learn more about our advanced 5-axis machining solutions.
Due to the rotational axes, A- and B-, 5-axis machines are able to bring the part closer to the cutting tools. This enables the use of shorter cutting tools, which is key to creating a better surface finish. Shorter cutting tools are less likely to vibrate while operating, which is especially important at higher cutting speeds. Shorter cutting tools with less vibration also results in less tool deflection and runout – all of which contribute to a smoother and better surface finish on the final part. For these reasons, 5-axis machines typically achieve a higher-quality finish compared to parts fabricated with traditional CNC machines.
ABS 5-Axis Machining
Our 5-Axis machining department was built from the ground up with our clients' needs in mind. From the development of large custom designed 5-axis boring mills, to our in-house tool design group, our division is well equipped to handle the most challenging designs. ABS developed this manufacturing cell focusing on complex shrouded impellers first, which are known in the industry as “single piece wheels”. Building on the successful launch of the most complex designs, ABS rapidly tooled up to cost effectively manufacture impellers up to 80 inches in diameter.
Established in 1971, ABS Machining has grown to become the recognized global leader in large machining, fabrication, and assembly for OEMs. The key to our success has been exceptional people, unparalleled facilities, and an unwavering commitment to quality. Our people are experts in their given field. Their expertise is matched only by their passion for serving our clients. We continue to invest in our people with education programs, cross training and in our internal accredited apprenticeship center.
Our facilities are state-of-the-art and, in addition to our 5-Axis Machining, we are equipped to serve our client’s requirements in:
Our massive fleet of machines and automated welding systems has delivered solutions to the most technically challenging projects. Our commitment to maintaining unparalleled facilities is evidenced by our renowned continuous capital reinvestment initiatives. Our commitment to quality goes well beyond our ISO 9001:2015 Registration. From the inception of all programs, ABS quality professionals work closely with each customer to ensure all their unique requirements are met or exceeded. It is this commitment that has positioned ABS as a strategic supplier to leading OEMs worldwide.
Contact us today to see how we can help with your machining project, or give us a call at 1-844-227-6224.
CNC MACHINING · FABRICATION · ASSEMBLY
Precision Machining ↓
ABS offers a unique combination of medium to high volume production machining and welding services.
80 Large Advanced CNC Machine Tools
ABS is one of the largest and most advanced manufacturing companies in North America.
6 Plants with lifting capacity up to 160 Tons
The ABS 5-Axis machining department has been built from the ground up with our customers’ needs in mind.
Centrifugal and Turbo Machined Impellers
Fabrication & Quality Assurance ↓
Heavy Fabrication Mig, Tig, Flux Core, Sub Arc
Mig, Tig, Flux Core, Sub Arc
Inconel 625 Hotwire Tig
Inconel 625 Hotwire Tig
Quality Assurance & Control
Quality Assurance & Control