Modern commercial machining can be accomplished in a variety of ways. Simple jobs, such as perpendicular drilling, can still be processed with a manually operated machine. Even a fairly complicated component can be produced with the primitive computerized numerical control (CNC) machine tools of the 1980s.
Some Modern engineers and designers, however, are constantly pushing the machining envelop by imagining ever more complex designs. The components described by these complex designs often require a 5-axis CNC horizontal machining center (HMC) in order to be performed to the proper tolerances.
What is a 5-axis CNC horizontal machining center? It is a state-of-the-art computer-controlled milling machine. Actually, its name alone does a fairly decent job of describing its major attributes. Horizontal refers to the orientation of the main spindle. Vertical machining centers do exist and, although less expensive, are sometimes considered inferior in precision and capability.
The 5-axis refers to the ability of the machine to physically manipulate the component and of the cutting head. The X, Y and Z axes are the normal axes familiar to everyone: up and down, side-to-side and rotational movement. In addition, movement along a C-axis is asymmetric and allows for eccentric turning. Lastly, the B-axis allows for the tilting of the machining head itself. Computer control of these movements allows for the creation of almost any shape.
CNC refers to the computerized numerical control of the machine. A computer controls all aspects of the process. It rotates the component on the five axes, controls the depth of cuts and bores and automatically determines the correct tool necessary. This last feature is accomplished through the use of a magazine that houses a wide variety of tools. A typical magazine will hold a drill, lathe, plane, screw tap, gear shaper and many other dies.
The Rigid construction of the device is another key feature that allows it to produce the most complicated components within the specified tolerances. But without the proper materials and bracing, the entire machine would flex and ruin the accuracy of the tooling.
All of these features allow for the production of components to a tolerance of 1/10,000 of an inch while maintaining greater efficiency and productivity.
Horizontal machining centers are feats of engineering and they are interesting to witness in action. It takes the skill of a human to imagine and create the programming that allows these wonders to do their work.
SIGMA CNC Technology Machinery Co., Ltd. is the professional manufacturer of horizontal machining centers and grinding machines. If you are interested in learning further details about SIGMA’s machinery, please feel free to visit our website or contact with us directly!
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