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Delcam to support Ajax launch of first five-axis machine


Delcam’s PowerMILL will provide programs for the launch demonstration of Ajax Machine Tools’ first five-axis machine

Delcam will support the launch of the first five-axis machine produced by Ajax Machine Tools International, the AJV 700i 5X.  Programs for the launch demonstration will be created in the company’s PowerMILL CAM software for high-speed and five-axis machining.

The debut of the five-axis equipment, a UK-built version of the AJV 700 VMC with a Heidenhain control, will be one of four machine tool launches at the Ajax Machine Tools International Open House to be staged at the company’s headquarters in Lymington, Hants, between 15th and 17th October.  In addition to Delcam, the event will involve demonstrations of supporting technologies and product accessories from Heidenhain, Renishaw, Trucut Tools, UCAM and WDS Component Parts.

Of course, the machine is designed to be used for standard three-axis milling as well as for full five-axis operation.  This flexibility makes it the ideal choice in any machine shop where five-axis operation is not expected to be the full-time use of the machine but where the user wants the option to offer this service to his customers.

Five-axis machining continues to become more popular as companies become more aware of its ability to boost productivity by increasing efficiency, improving quality and shortening delivery times.  Five-axis capabilities that were once only available on large machines are now available on the smaller machining centres used by sub-contractors and toolmakers. 

At the same time, developments in five-axis machining software, including the Delcam systems, have made programming for five-axis operations much easier.  More sophisticated simulation software has also been introduced, making it easier for the user to check toolpaths on the computer, minimizing any possibility of collisions or gouges.

The first advantage of five-axis machines is that they enable shorter cutters to be used since the head of the machine tool can be lowered towards the job and the cutter oriented towards the surface.  These shorter cutters minimize vibration, allowing higher cutting speeds to be used with no loss in accuracy. 

Another major benefit of five-axis machining is the ability to machine complex shapes in a single set-up.  This saves considerable time compared to performing the job in a series of set-ups.  Furthermore, with multiple set-ups, there is always a possibility of incorrect alignment each time the part is moved.  With more complex parts, special fixtures need to be made to hold the component firmly during machining.  By reducing the number of set-ups, five-axis machining can also save the time and cost of making a multitude of fixtures.

20 September 2013