This machine is a replacement for the old Okuma mills that were being used for our bevel grinding. One of those machines stopped working a little over a month ago. The other had a recurring glitch that would stop the machine and ruin the blade it was working on. As this issue started happening more and more frequently we had a decision to make. After considering the age of the machines, past repairs, their functionality, the costs of troubleshooting and fixing them, the likelihood that they even could be fixed, and our future plans, it became clear that the best decision would be to replace them instead of continuing to fix them. So yeah, that is being built out to our specifications right now and should be on our floor and running in just a few short weeks.
Why should you care that it is a 5-axis machine? The previous mills were 3-axis, which has some limitations. We were able to make them work for bevel grinding, but it was a complex process that we aren't willing to share publicly. With the extra two extra axes, bevel grinding will be a smoother process. So even though we are going from two machines to one, we will still be able to get a lot done. When you also consider downtime for repairs this machine will likely be more productive than the other two combined.
Additionally, the 5-axis machine will give us more freedom with the types of grinds we can do. Things like the tanto TSK blades could be done with the old machines but the process would have been much more complicated and time consuming. Stay tuned to see what else we have come up with now that we can get them done!