Introduction to Vertical Boring Machines

Posted on Dec 9, 2020

Industrial machinery that does the turning and boring of cylindrical workpieces. What is the difference between a vertical boring machine and horizontal boring machine? Can I use a vertical boring machine to work on a large workpiece?

How Does a Vertical Boring Machine Work

Vertical boring machines, better known as the vertical boring mills, are industrial machinery used for specialized functions and applications. Vertical boring mills are often large in size and utilize a rotating piece attached to a horizontal table. 

The border of a vertical boring machine is capable of traveling upwards or downwards depending on the operator. The workpiece that needs to be machined will need to be attached to the machine, allowing the intended tasks to be performed accurately and precisely. There is a single point cutting tool which is connected to a rotor. With such set up, the tool is secure while the object that needs to be machined is mobile. 
Nowadays, vertical boring mills are often attached to the floor or a table, and possess specific components.  The core components include a bed, which houses the rotor. There is also the cross rail that balances the workpiece against the motion of the rotor. And there is also the tool head where this workpiece is attached and is in direct contact with the workpiece that required boring. 
Other parts of this machine include the rams, which allow the boring machine to maintain balance, be vertically maneuverable, and therefore, the cutting tool can be applied onto the workpiece.

Applications of Vertical Boring Machines

Vertical boring mills have many applications, with the main one being turning and boring large cylindrical workpieces. Turning is a machining process that entails the use of a non-rotary tool to make a helix shape on a work object, while boring is enlarging the size of an existing drilled hole. 

The vertical boring mill can be applied for various purposes including locomotive tired, machine tool tables, water turbine runners, machining turbine casing, ring gear blanks, and flanges for the large pipes. Water turbines are mostly used for electrical power generation, which are commonly located in dams. Potential and kinetic energy is converted to mechanical energy and ultimately to electrical energy. There is where a vertical boring mill is applied.

Vertical boring mills are also used for flanges of large pipes. Flanges are rings that form a rim when fastened to the tube. Flanges make sure that the connecting parts are bolted together. This is applied in engineering, corporations, construction and procurement. 

Locomotives are power units located in trains that pull rail cars. They are equipped with tires that have a replaceable wearing element on the wheels. A vertical boring mill is used to install these tires.

Vertical boring mills are also used in machine turbine cases to increase its toughness and lifespan. These casings are mounted based on the design and material of the machine turbine. 

Vertical Boring Machines vs. Horizontal Boring Machines

In the world of machining, a popular counterpart of vertical boring mill is the horizontal boring mill, which also has the capability of performing a variety of drilling and boring operations. Both types of boring mills have identical functions, but they are different in terms of machine setup, workpiece set up and tooling configuration. 

Horizontal boring mills are more ideal for boring very large parts and objects that can be efficiently placed on the table. Vertical boring mills, on the other hand, are more applicable for machining water turbine runners, turbine casings, larger pipe flanges, locomotive tires, ring gear blanks, and machine tool tables.

To look more closely into the differences of vertical boring mill and horizontal boring mill, see below for the unique characteristics of a vertical boring mill:

● When machining using a vertical boring mill, the workpiece is rotated around a Y-axis while the boring head moves in a linear pattern.
● When machining using a vertical boring mill, the workpiece is secured on a horizontal table that rotates along a vertical axis.
● Tools that are non-rotatory are fed either vertically or horizontally using a cord rail which is mounted on the turret slide. 
● The side head can be fed either vertically or horizontally as well.

Moreover, with particular respect to application, the horizontal boring mill is used for facing, tapping, boring, drilling, reaming, milling and contouring. The versatility makes it one of most popular equipment used across industries and machine workshops.
For large parts, a horizontal boring mill is also the most obvious choice. Parts can be fabricated by placing the workpiece on top of the table while the boring head rotates along an X axis. The setup of the horizontal boring mill is closely similar to that of a lathe and standard milling machines.

Carefully assess your intended application when it comes to choosing between a vertical or horizontal boring mill. A rule of thumb is that horizontal boring mills are not limited with the size of the workpiece to be machined.

:: Read more : What is a Horizontal Boring Machine

Final Words

Last but not least, there is in fact nothing simple about the workings of a vertical boring mill. Therefore, it is imperative that you assess the requirements of your project before assigning the corresponding boring mill for the intended task.

Something that is worth mentioning is that boring mills have evolved significantly over the years and are now being integrated with CNC controls including motors and drives that enhance both speed and quality. Many machine shops are now able to upgrade to CNC boring mills to accommodate the demand of those who aim to increase productivity and accuracy.

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