5-Axis Milling

Simultaneous 5-axis freeform machining of complex geometry with extensive tool control and high-speed machining built in

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ESPRIT offers FreeForm simultaneous 5-axis machining cycles that deliver machine-optimized toolpaths for 5-axis, 4+1, and 3+2 applications to produce complex tools and parts for a variety of industries, including aerospace, automotive, energy, and medical. These Adaptive Machining cycles are optimized to run on any class of CNC capable of 5-axis, including mills, multitasking mill-turns, and Swiss-type machines. As a full-spectrum CAM system, ESPRIT's 5-axis cycles can be combined with other milling, turning, and inspection cycles to create one complete part program that supports the needs of all machining and on-machine inspection. 

  • Machine-optimized 5-axis, 4+1, and 3+2 toolpaths to machine complex freeform shapes
  • Produce tools and discrete parts for a wide variety of industries including aerospace, automotive, energy, and medical
  • Adaptive Machining cycles that run on any class of CNC milling machine and any other CNC capable of 5-axis, including multitasking mill-turns and Swiss-type machines
  • Combine FreeForm cycles with any other milling, turning, and inspection cycles into one complete program

Simultaneous 5-Axis

For simultaneous 5-axis freeform machining, ESPRIT has nine families of rough and finish machining cycles for a wide variety of parts — from micromachining to heavy industry. Use this powerful suite of cycles in full 5-axis, lock one axis for 4-axis applications like screws and blades, or lock two axes for maximum rigidity in heavy cuts. Each of these cycles has high-speed machining built in. For roughing, ESPRIT's patented ProfitMilling strategy is available to maximize material removal rates and tool life. Unique to ESPRIT is the patented FreeForm 5-axis composite cycle, a combination of six different machining patterns and six tool orientation strategies for a total of 36 different toolpath types. This high-performance cycle uses a simple four-step workflow while providing extensive control over the cutting tool movements to support the unique requirements of a tremendous variety of applications.

  • 5-axis freeform machining of complex geometry with extensive tool control and high-speed machining built in

Stock-Aware Toolpath

ESPRIT’s FreeForm milling cycles are dynamically optimized based on the real-time state of the stock, cutting tool, tool holder, workpiece setup, and machine tool, resulting in safer, shorter-cycle, collision-free machining with minimized repositioning and no air cutting.

  • Roughing and re-roughing optimized to remaining stock in real time
  • Immediate visualization of the machining result
  • Multithreading, GPUs, and background calculation for maximum performance

Machine-Optimized G-Code

Machine-optimized, edit-free G-code produces shorter setup times and faster cycle times. To accomplish this in 5-axis, ESPRIT optimizes linear and angular point distribution and the number of blocks of code to accommodate faster look-ahead processing in the CNC control. This optimized point distribution also maintains the surface quality and smooth trajectories around sharp curves. In addition, tool control center point (RTPC) output for cutting and rapid positioning improves machine movement, resulting in faster feed rates and higher surface quality when output using absolute values. RTPC can also be output independent from a given machine kinematic configuration when using vectors. ESPRIT’s support for 3D tool compensation gives machine operators the flexibility to adjust the machine offsets for tool wear for 5-axis simultaneous machining. 

  • Optimum point distribution for faster look-ahead processing in the CNC control and better surface quality

Optimizing the Program

ESPRIT uses a digital twin of the CNC machine, providing an awareness of the machining environment to simplify programming and optimize the G-code. Machine awareness drives ESPRIT's most advanced and beneficial features, such as the automatic link generator, rotary solutions, and feed rate optimizer. The automatic link generator understands the clearances needed to position around complex part geometry and workholding, as well as those needed for difficult in-cut repositioning, creating automatic links that speed programming, and reduce cycle times. 

In 5-axis, ESPRIT accomplishes the challenging task of choosing the optimal rotary solution within the machine's travel limits, further shortening cycle times while allowing larger parts to be machined on smaller envelope CNCs — making a big difference to a shop’s bottom line. Using knowledge of the kinematic relationship between the tool touchpoint and the machine’s axes, ESPRIT monitors the position, acceleration, and velocity of the axes to attain programmed feed rates while also producing smooth movements along the workpiece during the machining process. This machine-aware feed rate optimization significantly improves surface quality, extends tool life, and eliminates sudden changes in axis acceleration that can damage the part, tool, and machine. 

  • Fully automated linking moves with optimized rotary solutions for 3+2- and 5-axis rapid positioning
  • 5-axis feed rate optimization significantly improves surface quality and extends tool life

Full Machine Simulation

For 5-axis part programs, an offline simulator that can dry run the program and verify that it runs collision-free is a valuable tool that saves significant setup time on the shop floor. ESPRIT's built-in machine simulator uses a digital twin of the CNC machine to do exactly this, showing precisely what will happen at the machine before a single chip is ever cut. During the simulation, ESPRIT displays all the motion of the machine components in real time, providing an accurate verification of the entire machining process. During the simulation, the collision avoidance system identifies any potential areas of concern, including collisions, axis overtravel, and part violation, eliminating the possibility of an on-machine error.

  • Analysis provides a detailed view of the toolpath
  • Comparison offers a color map of remaining stock
  • Simulation provides an animated view of the entire machining process
  • Analytics provide views of potential collisions, axes overtravel, acceleration exceptions

FreeForm 5-Axis Cycles

  • Channel roughing and finishing: A 5-axis milling operation to remove material inside a channel bounded by two walls. Especially valuable for thin walled parts, this toolpath combines optimal contact between cutting tool and channel walls to efficiently remove material while also minimizing pressure on the walls
  • Composite milling: An extremely versatile set of 36 machining cycles, based upon six machining patterns and six tool-axis orientation strategies, for creating a wide variety of 4- and 5-axis roughing and finishing toolpaths
  • Contour machining: Produces a 4- or 5-axis milling operation to machine along one or more 3D profiles while keeping the tool normal to the surface. Also used to chamfer edges of the workpiece
  • Impeller cutting: Impeller creates a 5-axis milling operation to rough, re-rough, or finish the channel between the blades of an impeller, with or without a splitter blade
  • Port roughing and finishing: Using a spline curve to guide the tool axis, this cycle follows a helical spiraling pattern to rough, finish, or machine an area that is accessed through a restricted opening
  • Spiral milling: Spiral roughing creates a 4-axis milling operation that spirals continuously along a set of surfaces and around a reference axis. It is a high-productivity cycle, suitable for hard materials and capable of a high chip removal rate. Spiral finishing is a 5-axis milling operation that spirals continuously between a start profile and end profile along a set of surfaces, ideal for single-blade finishing
  • Swarf cutting: Used to machine tilted walls using the flank of the cutting tool with simultaneous 4- or 5-axis toolpath
  • Z-level roughing: Using 3-, 4-, or 5-axes to rough machine a workpiece while maintaining constant loads on the cutters for smooth, high-speed toolpath
  • Z-level finishing: A 3-, 4-, or 5-axis finishing operation to cut vertical and near-vertical walls at incremental Z-levels and to cut floors with complex freeform shapes

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