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5-Axis Pinch Milling
Pinch milling uses live milling tools in the upper and lower turrets or spindles to machine opposite sides of the workpiece at the same time.
Pinch milling allows the CAM programmer to synchronize two multi-axis surfacing toolpaths to be machined at the same time on a single machine. The axis motions of upper and lower milling tools are performed on a multi-tasking machine with a B-axis head (XZCB) and a lower turret (XZ) that supports live tooling and possibly also Y-axis travel. The turning spindles provide the C-axis motion and provide balanced support at each end of the workpiece.
Developed in collaboration with Mori Seiki Co., Ltd. (patents pending).
Faster Cycle Times
With two tools cutting the same profile simultaneously, overall cycle time can be reduced. Typically, for long parts, the machining process will require a semi-finishing operation to smooth the stock material after roughing to provide a smoothed stock around the entire part for the finishing tool. This uniform stock puts unwavering cutting forces on the tool to achieve a smoother finish.
By simultaneously utilizing the lower turret to machine the workpiece to finish stock while the finishing tool is cutting the workpiece to zero, the overall process time eliminates nearly all the time needed to machine the semi-finishing toolpath, as opposed to doing the operations sequentially.
Another technique is to start the cut with the lower turret tool until a fixed distance is reached, while the second tool waits. The second tool (the finishing tool in the B-axis head) then follows the first by this fixed distance. This provides enough stock clearance for a larger radiused endmill to be used for finishing because a path has been cleared for the larger tool by machining ahead with the lower turret.