VIDEO: How Five-Axis Continuous Machining Can Advance the Manufacture of Complex Molds

MoldMaking Technology Senior Editor Cynthia Kustush interviews Greg Pozzo, applications team leader for Makino, to learn more about the company's introduction of five-axis continuous machining and its benefits for moldmaking.
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It is time for another video installment from Amerimold 2018. This month, we are talking about five-axis machining strategies and, specifically, Makino’s 5XC, which stands for five-axis continuous machining. I had the opportunity to chat with Greg Pozzo, application team leader for Makino, during the show and he explained what 5XC is, how it works and why it can be a game changer for moldmakers that build very complex molds. Here are the video interview and transcript of our conversation.


Cyndi Kustush: Hello this is Cyndi Kustush with MoldMaking technology magazine coming to you from Amerimold. I'm here with Greg Pozzo, application team leader for Makino. Greg, we're interested in hearing about your 5XC machining strategy and why that is so important; why you are advocating it?

Greg Pozzo: Well, let me define 5XC for you. 5XC is five-axis continuous. Basically, we at Makino see this as the next evolution in machining processes. The main benefit for 5XC is the fact that we're going to be able to reduce our processing time and costs. We're standing in front of a D200Z machine, which is highly accurate and that is one of the components that is needed for 5XC is making sure that that workpiece and the tool are very accurately being contacted. One of the other important factors for 5XC is the tooling technology that's coming out. And the last part would probably be the CAM systems and their ability to help automatically create some of these five-axis motions that will help reduce some of the cycle times and some of the human intervention with the programming.


Kustush: Greg, we're seeing that moldmakers are building more and more complex tooling. How does your 5XC strategy translate into a benefit for them?

Pozzo: One of the components of getting into complex mold machining is when you're programming that particular part, a lot of times you have to throw a lot of different tools or tool lengths at a mold because a lot of times you can't reach all the features with a shorter tool. You have to go to a longer tool, which is less rigid and a lot of times you have to slow the feed rates down. So, with 5XC, the newer CAM systems today have a lot of auto tilting of the toolpath, and what this does is it allows you to select an ideal tool that is much shorter, more ideal cutting conditions and the CAM system is able to actually automatically tip away and allow you to keep using that ideal tool. And we have seen or we've done a study where we saw up to a 63 percent reduction in cycle time and a 60 percent reduction in actual tooling costs per part using 5XC.

I think in the future we are going to see some changes, especially at Makino, where we are continually developing our motion-control technology. We have a long history in developing that and it is really critical because as you move all these different axes and you are starting to take advantage of these new cutters where you are running them faster, being able to control the tool or the machine very accurately becomes important so this technology helps quite a bit. Because it is a little bit more complex with a different rotating axes of the machine, collisions can be a problem. And while most CAM systems do have the ability to check collisions, the problem is there's other factors that the CAM system cannot take into consideration. We actually have an on-machine verification software called Collision Safeguard and that takes care of those last components that generally could not be checked offline. It will actually stop the machine before any collisions happen, so it is a very vital component to making sure you're protecting your investment.


Kustush: Wow, that's really interesting and pretty exciting too. I can't wait to see more about that. And you can learn more about that by going to MoldMakingTechnology.com. Thank you very much Greg for meeting with us today.

Pozzo: Thank you.


Don’t miss Amerimold 2019, which will be held June 12-13 at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, Illinois. Visit the Amerimold website to view the information-packed schedule and exhibitors list, and be sure to register to attend while you are there.