Modern Machine Shop

SEP 2018

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MMS SEPTEMBER 2018 76 FIVE-A XIS MACHINING programming. It programs five-axis parts off line using Mastercam, the same CAD/CAM system it uses for three-axis machining. He says that the shop approaches part programming either by essentially stringing together the three- axis programs for each side or by using more complex programming techniques, like program- ming off of the centerline of rotation to account for the different positions in which a part might be tilted. Maximizing the Machines' Potential GCG realized that it needed more than just the ability to move parts in five axes. Beyond the rotary tables, the machines are equipped with several other features and additional technol- ogies that have helped the shop get the most out of its machines and grow its business. These include: Touch-trigger probing. GCG bought its first M560-V with Renishaw touch-trigger probing, but the first job it ran on the machine (which lasted for almost two years) did not require it. Due to this experi- ence, the shop opted not to include the probing equipment on its second machine. However, when it started running jobs with castings, the shop saw the value of the probing equipment. It proved to be so useful for oddly shaped and irreg- ular castings that the shop purchased probing equipment on all its subsequent M560-Vs and had it field-installed on the second machine. The shop also uses the probing equipment for alignments and to square the machine, which increases repeatability and enables tighter toler- ances. For example, it might probe the rotary table after a rotating move to ensure that the table is in the proper position. An alert will be sent if it is found to be out of position. Probing also helps speed setups because it can locate the actual position of a part or fixture on the machine, then automatically adjust the coordi- nate system in the control to match that location. Tool-breakage detection. The first machine also had a Renishaw tool breakage detection probe, which the shop also initially opted not to get on its second machine. The rest of its machines have this system because GCG quickly learned its value. Before it was installed on the second machine, Mr. Gardner says the machine some- times sat idle waiting for an operator to manually After purchasing a second machine without probing, the shop began using the probing on the first machine to speed setups and check parts. Van Gardner says it has been especially helpful for machining castings like the one he's holding because they tend to have odd, irregular shapes that are more difficult to check. The rest of the machines have probing, and GCG has since had it installed on the second machine.

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