CNC Bridge Mill—A Bridge Type Vertical Machining Center

Posted on Dec 13, 2020

CNC Bridge Mill

A CNC bridge mill is one type of CNC vertical machining center, which has a dual-column design to provide maximum stability and efficiency for production. The CNC bridge mill has a bridge-like frame that enlarges the available space for conducting the machining works.

What is A CNC Bridge Mill?

A CNC bridge mill is one type of CNC vertical machining center, which has a dual-column design to provide maximum stability and efficiency for production. The CNC bridge mill has a bridge-like frame that enlarges the available space for conducting the machining works. Therefore, CNC bridge mills are the perfect choice for either heavy-duty machining or large-scale machining on several small workpieces with reduced cycle time.

Broadly speaking, in the field of machine tools, the multifunctional feature of CNC mills makes them recognized as CNC machining centers. Machine tools are the machines that are dedicated to precision machining on metal workpieces, which range from lightweight to heavy-duty capacities. Before applying the CNC technology into the manufacturing process, each type of machine tool is specialized in different techniques. For example, a sewing machine cuts large workpieces into the required shape and size, and a drill press is used for creating holes by removing materials from the workpieces.

Why is CNC Technology Important?

As the CNC technology was invented and employed in machine tools, the functions of each type are combined together in one machining center. In other words, a machining center owns the integrated functions of different types of machine tools. This not only enhances the versatility of CNC machining centers but also helps in increasing the working efficiency, which thereby makes more profits.

The main factor why CNC technology dominates the precision machining field is the automation of the manufacturing process. The term CNC stands for computer numerical control, which refers to the digitization of process control. From the design of products to the on-site machining process, one computerized system is able to cover tasks that used to rely on several operators to accomplish. In this way, it helps smooth the operation and improves the machining accuracy and product consistency for the manufacturers.

In addition to the multiple functions that CNC machining centers impress the industrial field, there are still other factors that define the value of the machines. In this article, we will focus on the structure of the CNC mills, and how the construction makes a difference in the practicality of the machine. To differentiate a CNC bridge mill from a standard machining center, the most obvious is the arrangement of spindles. It is the bridge-like design of the frame on a CNC bridge mill that makes more achievements than the standard one. In the following sections, we will talk more about how this device is formed and what special features it has.

What Comprises a CNC Bridge Mill?

A CNC bridge mill is a design for heavy-duty machining, which involves processing large-scale workpieces. Therefore, the machine usually takes up a large space in the factory. What makes this machine a large construction are the components it is equipped with, including the bridge casting, x-axis table, y-axis saddle, z-axis head, and control system.

Bridge casting

The bridge casting refers to the bridge construction of a CNC bridge mill. The enclosure covers the four sides of the bridge. The base at the bottom is long in length in order to enable one large or several workpieces with standard size to be placed on the table at the same time. In the center part of the bridge, there lies the machining spindle where the z-axis head travels on the upper part.

X-axis table

The table is set upon the base, which across the longer side of the bridge. With the larger structure, the CNC bridge mill has, the table has relatively more flexibility to move the workpiece along the x-axis. 

Y-axis saddle

The saddle is used to hold the workpiece firmly as the cutting tool machines on it from the z-axis head and in charge of the y-axis machining orientation. Compared to the standard machining center, the y-axis on this machine is extended due to the bridge design, which is the key that heavy-duty machining is available on this machine.

Z-axis head

The z-axis head is hung on the upper rail and carries the spindle and the cutting tool during operation. With the CNC system involved in the manufacturing process, the head is in conjunction with the automatic tool change system. The computer automatically instructs the tool turret to change the required cutting tool, and the head does the z-axis machining orientation.

:: See Product : Double Column Machining Centers

What are the Special Features of a CNC Bridge Mill?

Dual-column Design

The most important feature of a CNC bridge mill is the dual-column design on two sides of the base. On the standard machining center, the spindle is only secured by a single column, which results in some restrictions regarding the machining capability. In contrast, the two columns on the bridge type support the upper rail, which then provides better stabilization for the spindle and the cutting tool. 

Vertical Machining Orientation

The CNC bridge mill is a vertical mill, which means the arrangement of the spindle is perpendicular to the worktable. In addition, with this arrangement, the cutting tool machines on the workpiece with downward movement.

Extended Y-axis

The extended y-axis is achieved by the design of the base, and this enables larger or several small workpieces to be machined simultaneously. This not only increases the versatility but also the productivity of the machine.

Lower Table Height

Due to the improved capability, the base of the CNC bridge mill is usually set on the ground, and the table height is lowered accordingly. This ergonomic design makes the loading and unloading of workpieces safer for the operators.

Convenient Chip Removal

When it comes to chip removal, the vertical machining orientation is better than the horizontal counterpart. With the wider space the bridge mill provides, it eases chip removal even more. The more efficient the chip removal process, the less tool deflection, and product deformation may occur.

Increased Accuracy

Combining all the above features that the CNC bridge mill has, ensures the optimal accuracy regarding the manufacturing process. The dual-column design stabilizes the spindle movement. The vertical machining orientation prevents tool deflection and product deformation. The lower table height eases the loading and unloading of the workpieces. In short, all these features required for heavy-duty or large-scale precision machining can be accomplished by the CNC bridge mills.

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