The modular XP profiler carries from one to five A/B-axis spindle heads in a traveling-gantry, or traveling-table design, allowing it to complete up to five parts per cycle.

Five-Axis Profiler Speeds Cutting for Aerospace Parts

Nov. 13, 2014
"eX-treme Productivity" thanks to faster cycle times with modular, 5-axis / 5-spindle Any practical X-axis length; multiple work zones Outperforms A/C spindle heads cutting plate parts Multiple configurations and options

The Fives Group’s new Cincinnati XP aerospace profiler lives up to its name — "eX-treme Productivity" — for machining aluminum aerospace structural parts, with five axes of operation and five spindles of activity. With doubled spindle speeds, greater horsepower and higher feedrates on each axis, the machine’s builder reported this purpose-built machine achieves cycle times that are 50-80% faster than prior models, and cuts multiple parts for each cycle.

The modular XP profiler uses features previously adopted for Cincinnati's record-setting XT titanium profiler. It carries from one to five A/B-axis spindle heads in a traveling-gantry, or traveling-table design, allowing it to complete up to five parts per cycle.

The rail-type design allows any practical X-axis length for carrying multiple gantries and creating multiple work zones. The XP profiler is fully compatible with existing Cincinnati gantry profiler installations: It can use existing Cincinnati profiler beds or X-axis rails, or be installed on independent X-axis rails. The X-axis length can be expanded at anytime in the field with additional 12-ft. (3.66-m) rail segments.

Rail-type machines use dual servo planetary gearbox drives on both sides of the X axis. Y-axis drives can be linear-motor or rack-and-pinion driven.

The new high-speed rotary spindle heads are individually supported and independently driven in the A/B axes, for increased stiffness, accuracy, and dynamic performance. Rotary axis feedrates have been increased to 2,400 dpm, more than 400% over the prior design, to support higher tool path velocities in five-axis contouring. This is complemented with matched feedrates of 1000 ipm (25 mpm) on the X/Y/Z axes, for consistently higher path velocities, regardless of the direction of cut. The simple, compact spindle head utilizes individual ballscrew drives for the A and B axes, while the 134-hp (100 kW), 18,000-rpm or 114-hp (85 kW) 20,000-rpm spindles outperform A/C type heads in 5-axis processing of plate parts. The ballscrew drives are completely field-serviceable, an advantage over most A/C head designs.

Multiple spindle configurations are available: three spindles with 1-m center distance, three spindles with 2-m center distance, and five spindles with 1-m center distance. There is also a choice of options in CNC controls, scales/encoders, toolchangers, perimeter guarding, spindle probes, video systems, tool-ID systems, spindle enclosures, mist collection systems and other features.

In first-article cutting tests on a machine recently delivered to a Tier One aerospace supplier, the customer machined an upper wing skin panel approximately 31x8.85 ft. (9.5 x 2.7 m) with a min/max thickness of 0.062 in./0.4 in. (1.57 mm/10.16 mm), and tolerance of +0.000 in./-0.005 in. (+0.000/-0.127 mm). According to the customer, the part’s surface finish was excellent and it measured within tolerance after checking 2,200 points with a CMM.

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