Why Use Horizontal CNC Machines?

Posted on Sep 10, 2020

Why Use Horizontal CNC Machines?

If the material can be cut, the horizontal CNC machines and tools can transform it into a precision manufactured part. Both horizontal CNC machinines and vertical machining centers are used by modern engineers and manufacturers to create extremely precise components from a full range of plastics, ceramics, composites, metals, castings and special alloys.

What are horizontal CNC milling machines?

Computer numerical control (CNC) technology enables operators and engineers to control tools such as milling machines, lathes, routers, cutters, and more, using highly sensitive computer systems. The systems convert drawings and designs from CAM or CAD software into machine-specific codes - for example, NC code, G code, and ISO code.

These controls then direct the actions of the tool. Rotary cylindrical cutters in a horizontal CNC milling or machining center move along up to five axes to create shapes, slots, details, and holes in a three-dimensional part. The machine’s horizontal arbor holds a series of cutters reminiscent of a circular saw blade, though they are thicker and smaller.

Horizontal machining is especially ideal for applications that require slots, grooves, pockets or facing. Regardless of the functions of the machine, the horizontal orientation of the spindle enables manufacturers to work quickly and efficiently, especially on chip-intensive projects. The horizontal arrangement allows the chips - the inevitable effect of high-speed milling - to simply fall off or be easily removed.


CNC horizontal machining: tools and varieties

This method of assembly works not only in the case of CNC milling machines. Additional horizontal CNC tools include:

CNC Horizontal Lathes - Particularly effective for complex programs that would overwhelm a manual lathe, CNC Horizontal Lathes perform fast, precise cuts while the workpiece is rotated on the horizontal axis.

CNC horizontal machining centers - a modern style of a milling machine supported by a full system of additional functions, such as automatic tool changers, carousels and magazines, coolant and cutting fluid systems, and specialty enclosures.

:: Read more : What is a horizontal machining center?


CNC Horizontal Boring Machines or Boring Machines - There are three main varieties of this tool: table, planer and floor. The table is the most versatile, although they all serve the same purpose in the horizontal boring of holes in the workpiece.


:: Read more : What is a Horizontal Boring Machine?


Industries and products

Horizontal machining is especially effective on heavy parts as well as those that require machining from multiple sides. In addition to more efficient chip management, horizontal alignments typically offer faster processing times due to operators' ability to switch pallets. They are also usually associated with lower prices due to the overall reduced manpower and machining time.

CNC milling and machining are especially valuable in the production of large parts that require a large surface area, such as panels or aircraft and aircraft components. It also supports projects for:

• Commercial applications

• Building and maintenance

• Electronics

• Medicine

• Security

• Recreation

• Transportation

• Automotive

• Industrial and O.E.M.

Prototyping and custom design are also popular applications for CNC horizontal cutters due to their performance, flexibility and increasingly affordable tooling costs.

CNC vertical milling uses automated processes to control specialized rotary cutting tools that remove material from the surface of the workpiece. Manufacturers use CNC vertical milling to both form the workpiece and create details on its surface. It is most often used to cut small holes and cuts, and to create three-dimensional products. Due to the vertical spindles of these machines, they are also perfect for drilling and plunge cuts.


Vertical milling

Because there are so many uses and uses for modern milling, you can find many different types and styles of milling machines. Some machines are designed for a wide variety of general parts, while other milling machines are used for specialist parts that require unique patterns. The vast majority of milling machines are designed to work with materials that are heavy and difficult to cut, such as copper alloys, titanium, and stainless steel. For most projects, an engineered model is created first and used to set the parameters of the milling machines.


How a vertical milling machine works

When used to describe milling machines, the terms “horizontal” and “vertical” generally refer to the orientation of the spindle or cutting tool. A spindle, also known as a cutting head, is oriented vertically on a vertical milling machine. Because the cutting head is fixed in its vertical orientation, there are other parts of the machine that shift along one or more axes to move the material so it’s in the right location to be milled correctly.

There are two basic types of vertical mills: turret and bed. They work slightly differently and provide unique benefits:

Turret Mill: In a turret mill, the spindle remains in a fixed location, and the bed portion of the machine that holds the material moves horizontally or vertically. With the ability to manipulate the position of the material in both directions, a turret mill is extremely versatile. However, these mills are usually limited to projects relating to smaller pieces, as the two-axis movement can be challenging with larger pieces of material.

Bed Mill: The bed mill can only move material along the horizontal axis. In this type of milling machine, the spindle is limited to the vertical axis, but can move up and down as needed. The movement of the spindle in combination with the horizontal movement of the bed allows milling of a wide variety of shapes and depths. A bed mill is better suited to projects that require heavy, large components than a tower mill.


Applications and benefits of vertical milling

While many designs can be machined on either vertical or horizontal milling machines, each type may offer unique advantages for specific milling specifications. Vertical milling is an excellent choice for projects that are mostly machined on one side, such as sinking and machining large sheets. In some cases, vertical mills are simpler and less complex internally than horizontal mills because the spindle does not need to be adapted to move in two directions. Some vertical milling projects are cheaper than those requiring horizontal milling.

:: Read more : Is Vertical CNC Lathe Better than Horizontal CNC Lathe? Why, Or Why Not?



Support for a horizontal milling machine

Unlike vertical milling machines, horizontal milling machines do not use a fixed spindle. Instead, they use cutting heads similar to small circular saws that are mounted on a horizontal mandrel. In some cases, such as where the arbor extends the entire length of the bed, multiple knives may be installed. While some mills limit the movement of the bed to a horizontal plane, others have swivel beds. These machines can provide milling at different angles.


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