How Can a Rotary Table Indexer Help?

Posted on Sep 10, 2020

rotary table indexer

The rotary table indexer is a process in which, after repeated angular displacement during the machine cycle, it comes to a standstill. The rotary indexing table is specially designed to perform repetitive movements around the platform. Basically, these are high-precision work positioning devices that index parts to be machined or machined in multiple operations.

What Is a Rotary Table Indexer?

A rotary table indexer, or a rotary indexing table, is an integrated motion system.  It usually consists of motors and mechanical power transmission devices along with encoders, sensors, and drivers. The tables use electric motors for cam drives or servo tables. Mechanical cam indexers are relatively cheap and index only for setting angles, but are capable of precise movement.

It is a precision work positioning device used in metalworking that allows the operator to drill or cut at exact intervals around a fixed location (usually horizontal or vertical) axis. Some rotary tables allow the use of index plates for indexing operations, and some can also be fitted with dividing plates that enable regular work positioning at divisions for which indexing plates are not available. A rotary fixture used in this fashion is more appropriately called a dividing head (indexing head).

Important parameters for rotary indexING tables are the required application resolution (or smallest increment to be moved or measured), the required repeatability and accuracy, and other mechanical parameters such as acceptable levels of backlash or hysteresis. Another key parameter is the load including moments, axial, radial, and moment loads. They can affect the type and size of the indexer used in your application.

The rotary indexing table can be used in a wide variety of applications including manufacturing, inspection, and assembly tasks. For example, machines for assembly, processing, and bottling use indexers. They typically take one piece to work areas or move sets of relatively small parts around the station for sequential machining or assembly tasks.

Indexing Tables in Use

Rotary tables are most often mounted "flat", with the table rotating around a vertical axis, in the same plane as the vertical milling machine. An alternative configuration is to mount the turntable indexer at its end (or mount it "flat" on the plate at a 90 ° angle) so that it pivots about a horizontal axis. A tailstock can also be used in this configuration to hold the workpiece "between centers".

With the table mounted on the auxiliary table, the workpiece is exactly centered on the axis of the rotary table, which in turn is centered on the axis of the cutting tool. So all three axes are coaxial. From now on, the auxiliary table can be moved anywhere X or Y direction to position the cutter at the desired distance from the center of the workpiece. This allows concentric machining operations on the workpiece. Placing the workpiece off-center at a certain distance from the center allows you to cut more complex curves. As with other vertical milling setups, the milling operation can be either drilling a series of concentric and possibly even hole spacing, or face or end milling of circular or semicircular shapes and contours.

You can use an indexer with a rotary table:

● For machining the flat bars of the key on the screw

● For drilling evenly spaced holes on a round collar

● To cut a round piece with a protruding pin

● For creating large diameter holes by milling in a circular tool path on small milling machines that do not have the power to drive large twist drills (> 0.500 "/> 13 mm)

● For the milling of helices

● To cut complex curves (with appropriate configuration)

● For cutting straight lines at any angle

● For cutting arcs

With an additional folded table on the turntable, the user can move the center of rotation to any place on the part being cut. This allows the arc to be cut anywhere in the part for cutting round pieces. Additionally, when switching to stepper motor operation with a CNC milling machine and a tailstock, the rotary table indexer allows you to make multiple parts on a milling machine that would otherwise require a lathe.

:: Read more: What to Consider When Buying a Rotary Indexing Table

Applications of Rotary Table Indexer

Rotary tables have many applications, including the manufacturing and inspection of critical components in the aerospace, automation, and science industries. Typical indexing table applications might include:
● Moving containers under a nozzle and holding for liquid fill
● Moving a small appliance around to have a plastic part inserted
● Moving an engine component around to a drill stand
● Moving a casting into position to have a static bearing pressed into place
● Moving a part around to have a cast face milled flat
● Moving this machined part next to a visual inspection sensor

 Virtually any manufacturing operation can be performed on a part held by an indexing table including welding, grinding, drilling, assembly, painting, inspection, testing, and more. In order to maximize operational efficiency, the unit must also be built for the same intended application as the indexing table for them to work in synch. Similarly, the unit that loads the indexing table with parts must also be synchronized. They must have the same capacity and be able to manage to the same dwell time for the system to work.


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