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

People are Part of the Process for Machining Inconel

A Tacoma shop describes its winning strategy for efficient machining of Inconel. That strategy includes careful choices of cutting tools and cutting parameters. It also includes a healthy breakfast. ...MORE

Yasda YMC 430 Ver. II micromachining center

Micromachining Center for Die/Mold Applications

Available from Methods Machine Tools, the Yasda YMC 430 Ver. II micromachining center is designed for precise manufacturing and high-quality surface finishes required on small, complex features in components, dies and molds for applications in the medical and semiconductor industries. ...MORE

Makino iQ300 micromachining center

Micromachining Center Promotes Component Temperature Control

Makino’s iQ300 precision micromachining center offers improved component temperature control and 0.005-micron scale feedback for sub-micron accuracy. ...MORE

Moving Forward with Self-Directed Work Teams

We all deal with change in different ways. It’s critical to first, recognize, and next, do something constructive about it. The Ohio shop is well on its way on both fronts. ...MORE

Automated Five-Axis Cell Streamlines Production

Abipa Canada made its move into automation leveraging a fixture plate distribution system and an HMC, minimizing setup time and lowering part production costs. ...MORE

Loading the player ...