CNC machining center is basically an automated machine tool with a programmed control system. Based on the position of the spindle, CNC machining centers can be divided into vertical, horizontal, gantry, and universal types.
Vertical CNC Machining Center
The vertical CNC machining center usually adopts the column structure in fixed positions and a rectangular worktable. There are usually three linear motion coordinates (X, Y, and Z axes) on the worktable although a fourth axis (A) can also be installed.
The vertical CNC machining center has a compact and simple structure with a lower price tag. It’s easy to operate, observe the operations during the machining process, and debug the program if anything goes wrong. This type of machining center is suitable for creating plates, sleeves, and plate parts.
However, the large parts with tall height can not be handled with a vertical CNC machining center due to the column’s height restrictions and its tool change mechanism.
Horizontal CNC Machining Center
The horizontal CNC machining center adopts movable columns and the headstock between the two columns moves up and down along the guide rail during the manufacturing process.
There are usually three motion directions: Axis X moves between the left and right sides, axis Z moves between front and back, and axis Z moves between the up and down. A fourth axis A can also be installed on the worktable just like the vertical CNC machining center.
The horizontal CNC machining center is often used for manufacturing spiral wires and cylindrical cams.
It’s not that easy to observe the debug program, test the pin cutting, monitor the manufacturing process, and clamp and measure parts. However, it’s easy to discharge pins during the process.
Compared with the vertical CNC machining center, the horizontal types feature a more complicated structure that takes up larger space and leads to a higher price.
Gantry CNC Machining Center
In most cases, the gantry CNC machining center features a vertical spindle, an ATC system and replaceable spindle head accessories. The system is very functional and can be used for multiple purposes with a single machine. This type of CNC machining center is suitable for parts of large sizes.
Universal CNC Machining Center
The universal CNC machining center is a five-sided machining center. It features the functions of both the vertical and horizontal CNC machining center types. When a workpiece is clamped, all sides, excluding the mounting surface, can be completed at one time.
There are basically two types of universal CNC machining centers:
1) The one that can work as a vertical or horizontal CNC machining center with the spindle being able to rotate 90°
2) The worktable rotates 90° with the workpiece and the spindle remains in the same direction