NC Rotary Table

What is a NC rotary table?

A NC rotary table stands for a numerical control table, or a numerical controlled table, which is a work holding device that is widely adopted on a CNC machining center for a milling machine or lathe.

The NC rotary table, as the name suggests, would rotate along with the workpiece that is set upon it during the operation of the machine, in order to allow for achieving multi-axis of cutting directions.

For the traditional milling methods, to attain different cuts on the same workpiece, it requires transferring the workpiece to several stations, and each one of them does one step at a time. This takes quite a lot of time and cost on producing one product, which makes the traditional methods less efficient and thus only suitable for small scale of production.

The completion of a product requires cutting the workpiece from different angles, which refers to cut through the workpiece with different axes. In order to achieve this with improved efficiency and accuracy, the NC rotary table is used, and would be in combination with a swivel head that holds the cutting tools in most cases.

The NC rotary tables are capable of reaching the multi-axis of cutting direction with several methods depending on how the tables are mounted, such as horizontal or vertical, and the required productivity of the machine, such as single or multi-spindle.

No matter what kind of method that the NC rotary tables apply for the operations of the connected machines, they are all dedicated to allow for multi-axis like 4-axis or 5-axis of cutting directions by the automatic operation with the numerical control of the computer, which enhances the accuracy and precision of the cuts and the efficiency of the productions.


What types of NC rotary tables are there?

The main principle of the NC rotary tables is to rotate the table, which thus rotates the workpiece to allow for being cuts during the operation. While depending on the different requirements of the productions, these rotary tables can be differentiated into groups based on how they are mounted, which includes horizontal, vertical, or tilt table, and how many tables are applied in one operation, which includes single-spindle or multi-spindle table.


1. Table mounting direction

Horizontal rotary table
This type of table is mounted on the horizontal base, with the motor being set up under or beside the base. This table is applied when the cutting tools cut through the workpieces with horizontal orientation and allows for different angles of the cuts.

● Vertical rotary table
This type is the counterpart of the horizontal one, with the table being vertically mounted, and the cutting orientation is perpendicular to the direction of the table. 

● Tilt rotary table
The tilt rotary table not only allows the table to rotate on the surface that it is mounted, which is usually horizontally, but also to tilt at the same time with 360 degrees of rotation. This additional function of the rotary table reduces the requirement for the tool holders as well as the cutting tools to swivel during the operation.


2. Number of spindles

Single-spindle table
This type of table is the most commonly seen for the CNC machining center, which holds one workpiece at a time. Therefore, it only requires one single spindle for providing the driving motion of the rotary table.

Multi-spindle table
As for this relatively rare type, it is equipped with multiple spindles on one CNC machining center, which means that there would be the corresponding numbers of tables rotate at the same time. For the manufacturers that pursue high efficiency and productivity, the multi-spindle tables must be the primary choice for them to apply. 


What are the benefits of using a NC rotary table?

1. Allows for multi-axis cutting

Whether to use a horizontal, vertical, or tilt rotary table with single or multiple spindles, the main purpose and benefit of using a NC rotary table is to allow for multi-axis cutting, and this can be achieved through the combination with either the standard or swivel head as well.


2. Compatible with different directions of mounting

As far as we know, the NC rotary tables are compatible with several directions of mounting, including horizontal, vertical, or tilt, which proves the versatility of these tables, and explains the reason why they are widely applied for the CNC machining centers.


3. Enhanced accuracy and precision

As the rotary table is controlled by the instructions that are presented as numerical codes from the computer, the angles of the cutting tools and other parameters of the cutting processes are carefully calculated, which enhances the accuracy and the precision that the connected machine is able to attain.


4. Improved efficiency and productivity

With the enhanced accuracy and precision, there is less requirement of repair or replacement of the workpieces due to the failures of the cuts, which improves the efficiency of the machine. What’s more, if the machine is equipped with the multi-spindle table, the productivity of the machine can also be improved at the same time.

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