When we added 5-axis machining to our shop in 2018 we promptly began using this technology to produce many of the parts we machine. It’s allowed us to produce high quality precision parts with fewer operations and shorter cycle times.
As a result, we’ve turned to 5-axis machining more frequently. By 2021, we had a backlog in our 5-axis machining department, so we quickly decided to add another 5-axis machine before the bottleneck could affect deliveries to our customers.
We evaluated our existing machine tools and then created a list of supplemental features and enhancements that would streamline production. We wanted multiple pallets to eliminate load times, and horizontal machining capabilities for better chip control. The ability to change tools outside of the work zone was also on our list, since this would eliminate clearance issues that often occur during tool changes.
Our subsequent research led us to a short list of machines, and we ultimately decided on a GROB G350 5-Axis Universal Machining Center, equipped with a second pallet. Its inverted milling capability allows us to use gravity to help clear chips and its “tunnel concept” for the spindle keeps tool changes away from the work zone. Adding this machine has more than doubled our prior 5-axis capabilities while increasing the accuracy and precision of the parts we’re able to produce.
For example, a medical part previously machined in multiple vises on a vertical machining center had a cycle time of just under seven minutes, chip to chip, for one part. Machining the same part on the GROB G350 with multiple pallets reduced the cycle time to five minutes for two parts. This represents a production increase of 108%!
We’ve experienced substantial reductions in cycle time with other parts as well. Adding this new machine has expanded our capacity and capabilities. More importantly, it diminished our backlog before it could impact our customers. Incorporating the latest technology and investing in new equipment are essential to ensuring we consistently provide value to our customers.