What are the most significant technology advances (software or hardware) that are improving these applications for 5-Axis machining? Obviously there are advances in position accuracy and repeatability of the feedback devices and more available processing power, but are there also algorithm developments and more sophisticated application programming techniques that are driving the advances in this area as well?
The more axis, the more chance of accumulating errors. Without a closed loop, 5-axis machines would be machining nightmares. I have a closed loop mill and I recently built an open-loop one for little projects. In the open-loop one, I can see where I lose steps. Over time, if that problem isn't addressed, the home(zero) drifts.
As a side note, I plan on adding a CNC rotary table to one of my mills. Closed loop is a must. That will make my design harder. (closed loop on a stepper? Yikes!)
The new composites manufacturing innovation center is intended to be a source of grand challenges for industry, like the kind that got us to the moon under JFK. These aren't the words its new CEO Craig Blue used, but that's the idea and the vision behind the Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation (IACMI).
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.