All You Need to Know about CNC Tapping Center

Posted on May 20, 2021

CNC Tapping Center

The process of CNC tapping center involves fastening two pieces of metal together, which helps drill holes where screws are used as well. Efficiency, one of the most notable qualities of the unit, helps complete designated projects while saving time and labor. It is essentially the process of tap and dies that creates metal in the manufacturing process.

What is a CNC Tapping Center?

A CNC tapping center is a computer-controlled machine tool used to machine parts in a wide variety of industries, characterized by high speed, high accuracy, and high productivity. Over the course of its development, the CNC tapping center has evolved to be one of the “all-in-one” machine tools, capable of performing a variety of tasks including milling and fine boring in addition to tapping. Coupling with CNC capability, CNC tapping centers are productive, reliable and are known for their superb machining capabilities.  

CNC tapping centers are a desirable choice for fast and repeated machining processes that require optimum precision. Whether you intend to machine multiple, deep or threaded parts, CNC tapping centers are able to carry out the tasks at ease. The focused tapping and drilling design ensure maximum efficiency and threading speed with the ability to drill into exceptionally hard materials. In this article, we’ll talk to you about the basics of the CNC tapping center and how the numerical control feature benefits the machine.
 

The CNC Capability

Before diving into the tapping machine itself, we’d like to first talk to you a little bit about what the computer numerical control pertains to. Computer numerical control (CNC), often shortened to numerical control, is an automated control system of machining tools such as drills, lathes, and mills by means of a computer. It is basically an essential improvement over non-computerized machining that is primitively controlled manually or mechanically manipulated by prefabricated pattern guides. 

Modern CNC systems involve the use of programming languages to create program instructions for computers to control and monitor a machine tool. It is often utilized by manufacturers to supplement the use of machine tools that perform a variety of operations such as cutting, drilling, sanding, deforming, facing, turning, and knurling. CNC is highly prevalent in all manufacturing industries which greatly improves automation and flexibility of machining processes, including that of a tapping center. Today, a machine tool that incorporates the CNC capability is often considered a machining center.
 

Types of CNC Tapping Center

Tapping centers can typically be divided into two core categories based on the distinct clamping mechanism of the workpiece, namely the vertical tapping center and horizontal tapping center. As the name implies, vertical tapping centers clamp the workpiece vertically, allowing cutting tools to be mounted in the same direction as that of vertical processing. Conversely, horizontal tapping centers are operated in a side-to-side fashion. Although both tools are capable of machining similar objects, the vertical unit is typically more secure due to the nature of gravity acting on the workpieces. That being said, both types of tapping centers are equally prevalent in a wide array of industries including automotive, aerospace, sports equipment, etc., all of which require parts to be created at maximum precision. They can be used to make jewelry, baseball bats, screws, gun barrels, and so on.
 

:: Read More: What Is A CNC Drill Tap Machine?
 

How Does CNC Tapping Center Work?

The process of CNC tapping center involves fastening two pieces of metal together, which helps drill holes where screws are used as well. Efficiency, one of the most notable qualities of the unit, helps complete designated projects while saving time and labor. It is essentially the process of tap and dies that creates metal in the manufacturing process.

The tapping process is perfect for machining auto parts, electronics, and industrial machines where holes are threaded. They are more widely used in heavy-duty industries where drilling big loads of hard materials are required. Tapping centers can come in 2-flute, 3-flute, or 4 flutes depending on the surface. Also, tapping centers and CNC are two complementary components nowadays that allow work to be done faster and more accurately thanks to the zero tap breakage while minimizing human error.

Some of the most notable features of tapping processes you should know about include:

  • No highly skilled operator required.
  • CNC tapping centers are very versatile in nature and are adept at drilling holes precisely at pre-defined depth. 
  • The unit does not require heavy and complex maintenance while retaining long-lasting results.
  • The unit is typically made of top-grade components to carry out the tasks as intended, including spindles, shafts, and gears.
  • The unit has a decent gear arrangement available with different spindle speeds.
  • No add-ons or accessories needed to work as desired. But that is not to say you cannot retrofit them on your tapping center for the added functionality.


Limitations of CNC Tapping Center

With the many great advantages of tapping centers like superb speed and accuracy, they do not come without certain limitations. One renowned disadvantage of the tapping process is that a different size tap is needed for different sized holes that need to be threaded. This ends up consuming a large number of resources and limiting positions in the tool magazine. Topping this, having to swap between various tapping tools for each size hole will increase the cycle time.
 

The Takeaway

As far as machine versatility is concerned, it is not a surprise to see the conventional, single-function tapping machines being integrated into the more advanced tapping centers today (e.g., CNC tapping centers). The modern tapping centers are capable of performing a variety of different tasks including tapping, drilling, boring, and so on. With the development outlook in mind, it is highly possible that CNC tapping centers will be further honed with more machining capabilities, covering a wider range of applications in the metalworking industries.
 

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