Five-axis machine tools represented a major advancement over earlier machines, with greater range of movement and the ability to create more complex shapes. Now, with increased automation and greater tool capacity, five-axis machines are becoming more productive than before.
Five-axis development has been going on for the past 15 years, executives said. That development has been assisted by advances in software and customers’ growing capability to create their own five-axis machine programs. Also, they said, processing speeds are faster and five-axis work is spreading from automotive parts to more complex and high-end aerospace components. Automation is seen as a way for manufacturers to get the most out of their five-axis machines.
The evolution of five-axis machines coincides with the broader advancement of Industry 4.0, with connected machines managed via smartphones and tablet computers. Industry 4.0 is requiring better trained workers who oversee multiple machines.