A rotary table is a workpiece positioning device which is used in metalworking in essence. To be exact, the rotary tables allow a work piece to be machined at specific intervals around a given axis, whether vertically or horizontally. Besides precision metalworking, rotary tables are also used for indexing operations with a dividing plate. Indexing operations refer to the process that divides the surface of a cylindrical workpiece into equal divisions in order to drill holes in the surface in a particular pattern.
The rotary table for indexing operation is used to rotate the workpiece so that the holes can be drilled in the work piece. A conventional rotary table is stationary and usually operated manually. In some applications, a certain level of movement is required so that the machining work can be done more efficiently; a tilting rotary table is introduced to such process accordingly. The tilting rotary tables are the rotary tables that can be tilted at a range of angles to better fit to a required machining work.
Tilting rotary tables are the equipment that is often mounted onto a milling machine or a turning center to provide the machinery with two additional axes for machining operations. With the implementation of a tilting rotary table, a three axis machining center is equipped with a five axis machining capability. To this end, the tilting rotary tables usually serve as a supplement to the three axis CNC turning centers. The main use of tilting rotary tables is to process smaller components. They are ideal for performing light to medium duty machining operations. Since they are applicable in manufacturing small precision components, the tilting rotary tables are widely applied in the automotive and aeronautical industries to make precision parts such as carburetors and turbine blades.
The construction as well as the use of a tilting rotary table is akin to a rotary indexing table. They are both used for precision work piece positioning except that a tilting rotary table has an additional rotating axis. The tilting rotary tables can either be manually actuated or controlled by a computer numerical control system. In the automotive industry, aeronautical industry and general manufacturing industries, the tilting rotary tables are incorporated with CNC machining centers; two extra interface cables are required in this case to control the movement of the machining center in all five axes.
The basic components of a tilting rotary table are not much different from a rotary table. The surface plate is called the table. The table is the part where a workpiece is placed and secured. The round shaped table has the ability to rotate and hence the name. On a manually operated tilting rotary table, the rotational movement of the surface plate is controlled by a handle which drives a worm and a worm wheel. On the other hand, the rotary table controlled by the CNC system has the worm and worm wheel driven by an electrical motor.
The tilting movement of the table is controlled by another set of worm and worm wheels which has the identical mechanism to the one that controls the rotary movement of the table. These two sets of worm gears are positioned perpendicularly at the base of the device and hence grant the table a two axis movement capability. The automated tilting tables also have the movement controlled by the CNC system. Since the tilting rotary table has an additional set of gears, it takes up more space than the typical rotary tables.
A rotary table can be equipped with the tilting movement ability by other means. In some cases, the rotary table is clamped onto a tilting table so that it can be tilted. This alternative is feasible when a tilting rotary table is not able to incorporate with the existing set of equipment. A rotary table can also be clamped onto other devices such as a sine plate to attain the tilting capability. The limit of applying the sine plate is that it can only be used for shallow angles.
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