Striking the Right Balance: Leveraging 3+2-Axis Machining for Efficiency and Precision in Metal Manufacturing

Five-axis machining has undeniably carved a niche in the metal manufacturing realm, offering advanced strategies made possible by additional rotational axes. However, an alternative approach gaining traction is the use of 3+2-axis manufacturing techniques, which strategically utilize rotational axes to streamline setup times. This methodology is proving to be a cornerstone for highly automated machine cells, as exemplified by the innovative practices at Clippard Manufacturing, a Cincinnati-based valve manufacturer and machine shop.

Embracing the Evolution: A Glimpse into Clippard’s Transition Machinist Kyle Shearer at Clippard Manufacturing operates the Haas UMC 500 SS, a five-axis machine tool that has revolutionized their operations. The introduction of this advanced machinery has significantly minimized the need for secondary setups, empowering Clippard to delve into lights-out machining, particularly for intricate medical parts. (Photo Credit: Chris Kern, Jergens)

Established in the 1930s as a manufacturer of radio parts, Clippard gained prominence during World War II for producing coils crucial to the Allies’ radio-based proximity fuse. This wartime success propelled the company’s evolution into the pneumatic valve domain, with a focus on serving various industries, notably the medical sector. In more recent times, Clippard has expanded its scope to operate as a contract manufacturer for medical parts, leveraging its expertise in meeting the stringent standards of the medical industry.

As industries evolve, so does Clippard’s approach to machining. By incorporating the Haas UMC 500 SS, a five-axis machine tool, into their operations, the company has experienced a transformative reduction in secondary setup requirements. This not only enhances efficiency but also facilitates lights-out machining, a game-changer in the precision manufacturing landscape.

Clippard’s journey exemplifies how the strategic integration of 3+2-axis machining can offer a harmonious blend of efficiency and precision, paving the way for advancements in medical part manufacturing and beyond.

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