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!)
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For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.