The horizontal machining center is a machine tool that uses CNC computerized numerical control, capable of performing multiple tasks automatically and with minimal human intervention. These centers are characterized by their precision, speed and efficiency.
Features of horizontal machining center
In addition to operating by computerized numerical control, machining centers are characterized by their versatility, since different operations can be carried out on them. Jobs run on a machining center use rotary cutting tools.
On the other hand, machining centers are very fast machines that allow the production of serial parts in a short period of time and with the minimum intervention of the operators. For example, there are machining centers in which the spindle speed can reach 4,000 and 8,000 revolutions per minute and work at powers of up to 75 kW. There are machining centers capable of supporting more than seven tons of weight on their work table.
Depending on the production needs of the workshop, you can choose a horizontal machining center with very different sizes, functions and levels of automation. In addition, multiple accessories can be added to increase its functionality.
Advantages of a machining center
One of the advantages of this type of machines is that they can be reconfigured easily and very quickly. Even in the middle of production, the operator can order the machine to change the machining parameters or add new indications for the work of the pieces, without the need to completely stop production.
These machining centers work in an automated way, which allows different tasks to be carried out at the same time without the need to change the position of the parts, or readapt the tools necessary for said work. The machine, by itself, knows what it has to do once the operator programs it according to production needs.
Thanks to these characteristics, not only the production time is reduced, with which the costs are also reduced, but also the workforce. Thus, the same operator can work with different machines at the same time. The worker simply enters the necessary parameters into the computer of the horizontal machining center.
In a horizontal machining center, the four surfaces of a part can be machined (if the machine has four or five axes), without the need to rotate between tools or change the part’s position; this, among other things, allows much greater precision in the work. On the other hand, thanks to its horizontal position, the chips fall avoiding their accumulation in the machine and in the blades.
What can be done in a horizontal machining center?
A horizontal machining center has multiple applications in different industries. For example, in manufacturing they are used to make parts, dies, injection moulds, etc. In the automotive industry, this machine is used to manufacture automobile parts and pieces, while in the case of telecommunications, they are necessary to generate printed circuits.
But the use of this type of machine is not limited to these industries, it is also common to find it in jewelry, engravings, footwear, artistic creations and also for cabinetmaking.
Types of machining centers
In the metalworking industry it is possible to find two types of machining centers: vertical and horizontal spindle. The horizontal machining center is frequently used for the production of large parts that require their machining to be carried out in parts. In many cases, and depending on the machine, the part can be tilted at different angles with respect to the different axes of the machining center, which can sometimes be five.
Horizontal machining centers are divided into two: high-speed or ultra-precision. Depending on the type of machine used, some or other jobs can be carried out. For example, the high-speed one is frequently found in factories where there are very short delivery times, that is, parts that have to be produced urgently.
The ultra-precision centers, for their part, are used to manufacture parts and circuits that are used in the telecommunications and electronics sector; as well as for engravings and artistic pieces, where precision is more important than speed.
Horizontal machining centers are characterized by having a spindle that carries a mounted cutting tool, whose movement is lateral. For its part, the machining is done, as its name suggests, horizontally. The column that holds the spindle moves along the X axis, the chair moves along the Y axis and the table moves along the Z axis. Thanks to these axes, three-dimensional machining can be carried out.
There are other horizontal machining centers that have A and B axes. In the case of machines with four axes, the B axis allows the table to rotate horizontally. Rotation increases if another axis, A, is added to it. These two additional axes can be found on four- or five-axis machining centers.