Why Choose Vertical Turning Centers?

Posted on Dec 22, 2020

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Turning Lathe

The vertical turning centers are also called vertical turning lathes, VTLs, and vertically mounted CNC turning lathes, etc. The vertical turning centers are capable of covering a wide range of machining techniques on the same machine, which enables the refining of finishes on the products that are pre-machined with drilling and milling processes.

What are vertical turning centers?

The vertical turning centers are also called vertical turning lathes, VTLs, and vertically mounted CNC turning lathes, etc. The vertical turning centers are capable of covering a wide range of machining techniques on the same machine, which enables the refining of finishes on the products that are pre-machined with drilling and milling processes. They can better meet customized demands pertaining to the configurations of products.

How a vertical turning center gets its name can be attributed to the arrangement of the spindles. The spindles on a CNC turning lathe include the one on the headstock and the other on the tailstock, which are used for clamping on the workpieces and facilitate the cutting motions from the cutting tools to the rotating workpieces. 

The spindle on the headstock, which is the main spindle, is the usually used one. It is mounted on the bed of the machine, and is perpendicular to the bed or the horizon. The vertical spindle penetrates through the center of the workpieces, and drives the workpieces to rotate together during the operation. As for the other spindle, which is the sub-spindle, is mounted on the upper tailstock that is opposite of the main spindle. This spindle is not used every time the machine is operated, unless there is a long workpiece that requires additional support on the other side.

Now that the vertical turning centers are also known as the vertical CNC turning lathes, they have the features that can be seen on the CNC lathes. A lathe machine refers to the working principle of a spinning workpiece that is machined with a stationary cutting tool as the tool moves on its axis. When the lathe is horizontally mounted, the cutting tool moves on the y-axis. As the lathe is vertically mounted, the cutting tool moves on the z-axis.

When a lathe adopts a computerized system, it is usually referred to as the CNC lathe. These computerized systems encompass the design of the products and the control of the machining processes. Once these works are all conducted with the assistance of the computer instead of the operators, including the automatic tool change and the automatic tool or table positioning, the intricacy of the products that the machine can achieve is even more than what the manual operation can do. Furthermore, it is able to ensure the precision of the machining techniques and increase the efficiency and productivity of this machine.

:: Read more : Turning Lathe Or Simply a Lathe?


The design of a vertical turning center

The design of a vertical turning center configuration can be derived from that of a horizontal turning center, but is the inverted form of the horizontal unit. The horizontal turning center contains a horizontally mounted spindle, which performs the lateral movements from the center of the machine towards the spinning workpieces on the headstock or on both the headstock and tailstock. 

In comparison, when inverting the horizontal turning center, the headstock sit on the horizontal surface, and the vertically mounted spindle and work holding device are attached to the workpieces. The difference is that the workpieces on the vertical turning center require less clamping force than the horizontal unit, since the gravity would take part in providing support underneath the workpieces. 

Also, the tool holding device, which is the carriage, allows the tool turret to hold the cutting tools vertically. When standing in front of the turning centers, the configuration of the components on this machine is presented as a long machine line from the left to the right side. In contrast, the total width of the vertical turning center would be much less than that of the horizontal unit when looking from the front of the machine.


What are the components of a vertical turning center?


● headstock

The headstock is at the bottom of the machine, and the component that contains the mechanism of motion transmission. There are the servo motor, the transmission system, the spindle on the headstock, and the work holding device, and this mechanism is covered with housing and set on the horizontal surface.


● tailstock

The tailstock is mounted on the opposite side of the headstock, which is on the upper part on the vertical turning center. It is used when it is necessary to hold the longer workpiece on both sides, and also equipped with a sub-spindle for allowing the workpiece to turn.


● work holding device

The work holding device can be a chuck or collet depending on the sizes and forms of the workpieces. It is attached to the spindle on the mechanism of the headstock, so as to enable the spindle to drive the workpieces to rotate.


● tool holding device

The tool holding device on a CNC machine must have the function of automatic tool change, which refers to the tool turret on the carriage. There would be several cutting tools that are supposed to be used stored on the catridges of the tool turret. It only requires the turning of the turret that the desired tool can be presented on the working site. 


● spindles

The spindles are the moving parts of the turning center. They are arranged on the headstock and tailstock, which penetrate through the workpieces and facilitate the rotary motion of them for being machined.


● coolant system

When a cutting process is employed, there must be the coolant system that offers coolant on the working site, including the contacting surface and the part that encompasses the tool and the workpiece. Since when the tool and the workpiece touch each other under the pressure of rapid rotary motion, there would be heat produced there. The coolant system is used to cool the contacting surface off, in order to prevent the working site from overheating and causing dangers in the working environment.


● servo motor

The servo motor is the place where the power is supplied for the moving parts on the CNC machine. The source of power is electricity, and when the electricity is provided, the electrical energy would be transmitted through the transmission system. During the process of transmission, the electrical energy is transformed into the kinetic energy, and then delivered to the spindle with rotary motion, which is what causes the spindles to turn.


What can a vertical turning center do?

In the metalworking industry, the machining works on the metal workpieces is the concept that covers a wide range of product manufacturing. From the separation from a large workpiece into small parts, the initial configuration of the workpieces, to the final refining of the finishes. In general, these processes should be completed on several machines, including the sewing machine and the milling machine, for example, which takes time, efforts, and a significant amount of cost. 

However, when a vertical turning center is adopted, the space required for placing several machines can be reduced for the only one machine, which would take up even less space than the horizontal unit. In addition, the machining works mentioned above can all be conducted in one turning center, which saves a lot of time, efforts, and cost for the manufacturers.


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