Zone: Machining Centers & Milling Machines

OVERVIEW: The term “machining center” describes almost any CNC milling and drilling machine that includes an automatic toolchanger and a table that clamps the workpiece in place. On a machining center (as contrasted with a turning machine), the tool rotates, but the work does not. The most basic variety of this type of machine is also the most basic CNC machine tool—a vertical machining center. While vertical machining centers can be high-end machines because of their precision and/or their size, a small and simple vertical machining center is a relatively low-cost CNC machine tool that often represents a new machine shop’s first machine tool purchase. The orientation of the spindle is the most fundamental defining characteristic of a machining center. Vertical machining centers and horizontal machining centers have (obviously) vertically and horizontally oriented spindles. Vertical machines generally favor precision while horizontal machines generally favor production—but these generalizations are loose, and plenty of machines break out of them. Other choices in machining center orientation include the universal machining center, which can change between vertical and horizontal spindle arrangement. More common than this is the five-axis machining center, which adds rotary motion to the machine’s linear motion. The machine pivots the tool and/or the part not only to mill and drill at various angles, but also to mill swept surfaces. Machining centers linked by an automated pallet system can form an automated machining cell. Such a cell can machine a queue of different parts without operator attention by shuttling the parts in and out of the various machines as appropriate. Related machines in this category include the boring mill, which generally describes a large machine for heavy and/or precise milling and hole making. Another related machine is the manual milling machine. Such a machine may have some basic programmability, but it generally lacks an automatic toolchanger, meaning the tool change is a manual step.

Featured Zone Content

Beyond Secondaries: Vertical Machining Center Enhances OEM's Capability

Like many turning based shops, Clippard Instrument Laboratory first applied vertical machining centers to perform secondary operations on its screw machined parts. That view has changed for the better. ...MORE

Remember Fadal? It’s Back

At IMTS 2014, you’ll see that a familiar U.S. machine tool brand is back. ...MORE

Okuma MU-6300V VMC

VMC Equipped with FSM for Unattended Operation

Okuma will display its vertical machining center equipped with a Palletace flexible manufacturing system (FMS) for unattended operation. ...MORE

HMC Offers Thermal Stability for Large-Part Applications

Okuma says its MA-12500H horizontal machining center (HMC) is designed to balance speed and cutting power for machining aluminum alloys, cast iron and difficult-to-machine materials. ...MORE

Clamping Options for Five-Axis Machining

In five-axis machining, the workholding has to get out of the way. The wrong choice of clamping risks collision and can obscure one of the principal benefits of a five-axis machine. ...MORE

DMC America FM 50V

VMC Provides High-Speed, Rigid Operation

DMC America will introduce its FM 50V vertical machining center at the show, intended to meet the need for a fast, functional machine with high-speed processing controls. ...MORE

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