A machine shop in Hutchinson, Minn., supplies components for process control system developers, medical equipment producers, and aerospace manufacturers, among others. Over the past few years, RD Machine Inc. has purchased a number of 4- and 5-axis CNC machining centers with the goal of increasing productivity by reducing the number of setups required to produce complex parts.

“Our previous CNC programming software worked well in 2- and 3-axis machining, but we discovered that it was not the right tool for 4- and 5-axis machining centers and mill-turn lathes,” explained RD Machine president Jeff Laway.

Based on the recommendation of one CNC machine builder, RD Machine switched to ESPRIT CNC programming software developed by DP Technology Corp., which offers numerous processing capabilities installed especially for 4- and 5-axis machining, as well as mill-turn machines.

“ESPRIT is designed specifically for today’s latest machine tools, and provides a wide range of features that help us get the most out of these machines while simplifying the programming task,” Laway said. “The end result is that we can now take full advantage of the power of newer machine tools while reducing programming time by about 25%.”

RD Machine distinguishes itself among other shops by investing in the latest available technology, so its customers have the highest standards of quality available, competitive pricing, and fast delivery times.

For example, recently the shop purchased a Makino PS95 vertical machining center with simultaneous 4-axis machining plus one additional positioning axis. The critical advantage of the additional axes is the ability to move the part so that the tool can access it from nearly any angle, to machine surfaces at compound angles, drill holes at angles, access hidden surfaces, etc.

So, a complex part that might formerly have needed up to 15 setups and many custom fixtures now can often be machined with only one or two setups, with no need for custom fixtures. This substantially reduces the amount of time required to machine the part, which in turn enables the company to offer more competitive pricing and faster delivery times.

Quality is improved also because reducing the number of setups makes it possible to control the relationships between different features more closely than was possible in the past. RD Machine’s mill-turn machines achieve similar advantages by completely machining parts that would normally require operations on both a turning center and a machining center.