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Posted on Dec 28, 2020
The double column machining center is one of the major types of CNC machining center. It is commonly referred to as the bridge style CNC machining center or the CNC router.
A machining center is a multi-purpose machining operation platform. This type of machine is fundamental in modern manufacturing and engineering industry since the advanced machining center allows multiple types of machining works to be performed. In a modern manufacturing setting, the machining centers are typically incorporated with computer numerical control (CNC) systems in order to carry out the machining works with precision and efficiency. The basic components of a machining center include a lathe bed and a spindle head. The lathe bed is where the work pieces are positioned and the spindle head is the machine that performs the machining operations. A CNC machining center can be a CNC lathe, a CNC turning center, or a CNC router.
:: Read more : Practical Advantages of Double Column Machining Center
The double column machining center is one of the major types of the CNC machining center. It is commonly referred to as the bridge style CNC machining center or the CNC router. What makes the double column machining center so different from other types of machining center is that the double column machines have a gantry that bridges over the lathe bed of the machine. The bridge style gantry hangs over the lathe bed with two columns that are mounted to a rail set at the longitudinal sides of the machine, and hence the name.
There is always a cutting surface on a CNC machining center; the cutting surface can be a lathe, a faceplate, or a bed with linear guides and bolt screws. Regardless of the style the cutting surface is, it is the place where the work pieces are secured and the machining operations are performed. The way a work piece is secured on a machining center varies according to the fixture device that accommodates with the machine. The most common fixture devices are jaw chucks, vices or clamps.
In many machining applications, the work pieces are hold stationary in places; while in some other applications, the work pieces are secured but movable so that they can accept machining operations on multiple sides simultaneously. On a CNC turning center, it is usually a motor that controls the movement of the work piece. On the other hand, on a double column machining center such as a CNC router, the bed is usually a platform mounted onto bolt screws with linear guides. With such configuration, the work pieces are allowed with a linear movement along the CNC router.
Unlike a typical CNC turning center that is equipped with a standalone spindle head, on a double column machining center, the spindle head as well as the cutting tools is attached to the gantry. The gantry is usually referred to the bridge style device. Since the gantry is mounted with the columns on the rail set along the machining center, the gantry is allowed with the movement capability across the lathe bed. Therefore, the spindle head that attaches to the gantry can perform the cutting operations along the lathe bed. The linear movement of the gantry and the spindle head is known as the X axis movement.
Besides the X axis movement, the spindle head has an additional Y axis movement. The Y axis movement refers to the transverse movement of the spindle head along the latitudinal axis of the lathe bed. This Y axis movement is enabled by the motion capability of the spindle head across the gantry bridge. With the X and Y axis motion capability, the spindle head of the CNC router can basically perform the cutting works across the whole lathe bed surface.
A conventional style double column CNC router is used primarily to process the metal work pieces that have a wide surface. The goal of the CNC router is to create profile, drill holes or slots, or make marks on the surface of the work pieces. This type of machining center cannot work with the work pieces that have acute altitudinal differences. Yet, with the modern console style double column machining centers with the Z axis movement capability, more cutting operations are enabled.
The Z axis movement refers to the vertical movement of the spindle head. The vertical movement is enabled by the power system that lifts and lowers the spindle head. The power system is usually a hydraulic system or a pneumatic system. With the Z axis capability, the CNC router is able to create more complicated configurations on the work pieces. The double column machining centers with three axes movement capability are ideal for a wide variety of part manufacturing applications.
The double column machining centers vary in size. It can be as big as a console style machining center for larger scale machining operations. It can also be compact enough to be placed on the table top or mounted on a bench to perform light duty operations. That being said, the compact CNC routers are still the double column machining center with a gantry to execute the pre-programmed machining works. However, the mini double column routers are rarely equipped with the vertical machining capability as the console style machining centers do though.
Besides the vertical machining capability, the other key difference between the console style double column machining centers and the tabletop CNC routers is the use of chip evacuation system. Chips are the tiny shreds that are removed from the work pieces. Since the compact routers are made for light duty machining works, the chip evacuation is easy. As for the heavy duty machining applications, if the chips are not evacuated efficiently, excessive heat may be generated during the process and it brings about negative influence to the operation. As a result, an additional chip evacuation system at the lathe bed is necessary for the large scale machining centers.
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