Both 5-axis and 3 + 2 machining have advantages and can help make you more profitable by improving efficiency on your current production jobs.
In simultaneous 5-axis machining, the machine tool’s three linear axes (X, Y and Z) and two rotational axes (A and B) all engage at the same time to perform complex contour surface machining. Processing five sides of a part in a single setup requires less preparation, and results in shorter lead times and better accuracy and eliminates the need to move workpieces across multiple workstations/pieces of equipment.
Some parts are more efficiently produced using 3 + 2 machining, where the machine executes a 3-axis milling program with the cutting tool locked in a tilted position using its two rotational axes.
If your part requirements have changed – tighter tolerances and more complex geometries – you may need 5-axis capabilities. If on the other hand, you simply need a better way to position less complex parts for greater access to their features, then 3 + 2 may be the way to go.
>Learn more about the differences and benefits of each at Manufacturing Tomorrow (5/3/16)