Working Tables

What are working tables?

Working tables, or work tables are the indispensable items in the field of components and accessories for machine tools. Working tables are used to support the workpieces or work holding devices in order to ensure the stability of the machine during the process. To accommodate the requirements of different machining works, the working tables come in a variety of sizes and types. In the following sections, we will discuss more details about the variation between each of the working tables.

When designing the construction of a machine tool, both the choice of machine parts and the arrangement of mechanisms make a difference in the performance of the machine. Some parts such as work tables are necessary for each machining process, while others are not seen on every unit. Besides, whether the angles of the machine parts are adjustable or not also influence the efficiency of the works. 

To be specific, working tables are the supporting elements on every type of machine tools, such as milling machines, drilling machines, or machining centers, etc. The available machine tools on the market can be manually or automatically operated, and so can the working tables. In other words, the choice of working table varies through the change of machine tools being applied. 

What do working tables look like?

One of the factors that differs the working tables is the size, and this must take the shape, length, and width into consideration. The most common shapes of work tables are rectangular or circular. On the conventional milling machines, most of the tables are rectangular, as the machining directions are x-axis and y-axis only. As for the CNC machining centers, which are the advanced form developed from lathe machines, the tables are usually circular. The circular tables are compatible with rotary movement, which allows for additional machining directions, such as a-axis and c-axis. 

The length and width of working tables have a lot to do with the manufacturing scale. For a small scale of production, the compact or portable form of milling machines as well as the work tables is enough for handling the required machining process. Besides, small scale of production often employs manual methods for conducting the operation. In contrast, the larger scale of production requires heavy-duty working tables instead. This type of work table is long and wide enough for handling thick and heavy workpieces or several small workpieces at a time. Regarding the operation method, they are usually automatically operated for the ease of control.

What are working tables made of?

The standard work tables are mostly made of stainless steel. The stainless steel table is rigid for remaining the stability under the pressure the workpiece or cutting tool gives. In addition, the rust-resistant feature also makes stainless steel perfect material for making the tables on machine tools. When the cutting tool comes in contact with the workpiece, the friction produced between them results in high heat. If the tables are made of stainless steel, it would thereby prevent the table from rusting under high temperature. 

What types of working tables are there?

● Slide tables
Slide tables are the most widely used work tables for the conventional milling or drilling machines. Some of them are used for a single axis machining direction, whereas the cross slide tables are capable of a two-axis machining process.

Tilting tables
Tilting tables are able to tilt as they are holding the workpieces. This function is designed for providing the machine with angular cutting availability, which means it enables the machine to cut the workpiece from different surfaces.
This eliminates the requirement for turning the workpiece manually to change the cutting angle. Therefore, applying a tilting table benefits the manufacturer in improving efficiency with the reduced cycle time. 

● Rotary tables
Rotary tables allow the workpiece being held to rotate during the machining process, which are suitable for machining profiles or contours of the workpieces. In addition to the axial cutting directions, rotary tables can also realize radial cutting to meet the requirement of the machining process. 

When rotary tables are in conjunction with the machining head with tilting function, this combination can also achieve multiple axes of machining directions. Comparing the three common types of working tables, rotary tables are the most prevalent for advanced CNC machining processes. With appropriate arrangement of the mechanism, the tilting and rotary movements of the machining head and table can be left unattended. Once these parts properly coordinate with each other, they can ensure the optimal efficiency and productivity of the machining works.

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