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

Makino a40 HMC

HMC for Die-Cast Production Machining Reduces Downtime

Makino introduces its a40 HMC for nonferrous, die-cast parts machining, particularly die-cast aluminum. ...MORE

DMG MORI EcoMill 600 V

Next Generation Entry-Level VMC Line

The new generation of EcoMill V series of machining centers features a revised Ecoline design to improve ergonomics, machine finish and worker safety. ...MORE

United Grinding Walter Ewag Laser Line Ultra

Five-Axis Machining Center with Laser Cuts CVD-Diamond Tooling

United Grinding has extended its line of Walter Ewag technologies for cutting tool production to include the Laser Line Ultra five-axis machining center that incorporates ultra-short pulse laser technology. ...MORE

Hwacheon Machinery Vesta 1000

VMC Features Automatic Tool Load Adjustment

Hwacheon Machinery offers its Vesta 1000 VMC for stable, high-speed, precision machining and long-term productivity in job shops serving the die/mold, automotive, energy, medical and aerospace industries. ...MORE

Mitsui Seiki HU100

HMC Features Quill Spindle for Boring Oilfield Parts

The quill spindle model of Mitsui Seiki’s HU100 heavy-duty HMCs is designed for precision boring of large parts in energy-related as well as other industries. ...MORE

Loading the player ...