As the need for faster, more complex production increases, Homag asserts that its five-axis CNC machines are within reach of smaller manufacturers.

Historically there has been a perception in the market, particularly amongst smaller manufacturers, that five-axis processing centres could only be afforded by the larger companies.

As the need for faster production times and more bespoke and complex production increased, however, technological advances have meant that price levels have fallen, so now even the smaller manufacturers can invest in five-axis CNC machinery.

Simon Brooks, sales and marketing director at Homag UK explains: “Over the last three to four years, the Homag Group has been working on making five-axis technology more affordable for all levels of manufacturing.

“The result has been a range of machines with a variety of functions, including routing, sawing, drilling and edgebanding units which are customisable for each level of the market. With the added ability to provide complete cycle production, these CNC machines can reduce the amount of equipment needed, keep running costs low and yet maintain high quality production with fast output rates.”

Customisable processing with optional table solutions
Homag’s range of five-axis processing centres is available with three different table options. The popular pod and rail table consists of vacuum suction pods attached to a moving rail system. This securely holds the workpiece in place, preventing it from moving whilst eliminating damage to the table or tools during processing. This table can be used with a large variety of size and material types.

With quick set-up times, the pod and rail table is an ideal system for companies, such as bespoke manufacturers, that change workpiece material and size regularly or only produce small batches. The pod and rail table is also available with clamps instead of vacuum pods for more precise and detailed wood processing.

The second table option, the flat matrix table, holds larger components in place using a large surface vacuum system. For smaller, individual parts the flat table lends itself nicely to holding jig fixtures or specific clamps to allow intricate five-axis machining to take place.

The final table option, a twin tabled router, splits the pod and rail tables into two machines, in effect allowing them to operate independently. This means one table can be carrying out a process such as drilling or routing whilst the other table’s workpieces are exchanged.

The dual function of Homag’s twin tabled routers means manufacturing downtime is significantly reduced due to the intelligent software that drives the machine. Not only does this produce faster and more efficiently than conventional routers, it can also accommodate up to four tool heads to be used synchronously. This is extremely beneficial to manufacturers as it allows complete cycle production using just one machine. 

Flexible axis options for swift tool multi-tasking with the Homag 500 series CNCs
The 500 series is freely configurable allowing users to choose from several different combinations including five-axis alone, three+five-axis, four+five-axis and five+five axis. This offers increased flexibility, including multiple head changes with the large range of tools available. The machine operator can therefore save time during the manufacturing process with faster tool changes which shorten the cycle time.

The variety of tools available for Homag’s five-axis processing centres provides tailored solutions for each company’s needs. With capabilities including sawing, routing and drilling, the highly versatile machines can have up to three processing units individually mounted for fast tool exchange. The Homag Group also has additional tools available which equip the five-axis with edgebanding capabilities. The 500 series can be fitted with either PowerEdge, which uses tape and glue or the technically advanced laserTec unit for premium quality zero-joint edgebanding.

Fast and simple programming with woodWOP software
For increased simplicity, Homag’s CNC processing centres operate with its woodWOP software as standard. This reduces the need for complex third party software. Using 3D graphics, this fast and intuitive software system offers operators flexible machine programming with simple navigation on Homag’s powerTouch operating screens. The full multi-touch HD monitor adds to the simplicity of Homag CNC processing centres.

Success with UK installations
With the Homag Group producing around 1500 processing centres a year, the flexibility of the range makes them a perfect solution for the joinery or panel market. A large number of these five-axis installations has been in the UK, creating specialist solutions for both entry-level and larger-sized manufacturers.

The Homag Venture 316 five-axis machine has brought huge productivity gains to Terry Smiths that manufactures coffins and caskets for the funeral services market. Not only has the machine delivered reduced production times, but also a significant saving to its bottom line, resulting in a faster return on investment.

Andrew Ryan Furniture, a high end, bespoke kitchen and joinery specialist in Ireland installed the new Homag BMG 611 when looking to update its production facilities and capabilities. Saving time and money, the five-axis BMG 611 allowed it to easily create bespoke, complex carvings without any restrictions on woodworking capabilities.

Simon Brooks concludes: “Homag’s CNC processing centres are essential powerhouses which consistently produce high quality results. If you would like to see a demonstration of any of the Homag Group CNC processing centres, call Adele Hunt at our Homag UK offices on 01332 856424.”