The vertical gantry is a type of construction used in computer numerical control machine tools . This type of structure can be found on CNC milling machines and machining centers .
The vertical gantry in machining centers
The vertical gantry of the machining centers has been designed to work large parts and heavy industries . That is why this type of machinery is usually used for the manufacture of parts for the aeronautical , aerospace and automotive industries , which require machining very large and complicated parts with specific structures and components.
The vertical gantry machining center is characterized in that the axis of the equipment is perpendicular to the work table. In addition, they can be programmed in different ways and can even be adapted to work with multiple parts . The machines that incorporate this structure offer a wide variety of axis possibilities, which vary according to the machining needs.
Regarding the structure , the machining centers are provided with two columns , beams and sliding saddles. It is possible to find them with the type of fixed beam, mobile and mobile column ; it all depends on the type of frame built. For example, there are machining centers in which the upper beam is fixed, while the work table moves. There are other centers where the beam moves up and down and the table moves back and forth.
CNC vertical gantry milling machines
Milling machines were the first machine tools to which a computer was adapted to allow processes to be carried out automatically. This type of machine works through computerized numerical control and allows the machine’s computer to have control over the machining in all processes . Thus, it is the computer that determines the cutting speed , depth of pass, feed, etc.
To machine large parts, milling machines also evolved and adopted the vertical gantry . That is why, along with machining centers, gantry milling machines are one of the most used machines to design pieces, spare parts and parts for heavy industries.
These milling machines are equipped with a frame (called a gantry) and a long horizontal bed . The machine is capable of processing the surface of the part with multiple milling cutters simultaneously; Let us remember that the milling cutter is the most important cutting tool of any milling machine and that it is made up of multiple cutting edges or rotating lips that start chips when they come into contact with the surface of the piece. That is why in vertical gantry milling machines the machining precision and production efficiency are quite high.
A vertical gantry milling machine not only includes the CNC , but is also provided with other mechanical, hydraulic, electrical and numerical systems . Thanks to this they can do the machining on planes, surfaces and holes following multiple procedures such as milling, boring, drilling and threading. The milling machine performs these jobs in a single clamping , that is, the operator does not need to reposition the piece, since it is the machine itself that has the ability to rotate and accommodate it according to previously programmed machining needs.
Among the characteristics of these machines we find:
- Numerical control that allows taking centralized control of the equipment.
- Servo drive systems.
- Rack, pinion and roller guide drive systems .
- High efficiency .
- simple structure.
- Requires minimal human intervention.
If the gantry is moving, the machine can be gantry fixed table moving type or gantry moving type (bridge type). In the case of bridge gantry milling machines, it has a small footprint and high capacity to carry heavy loads . To give you an idea of the size of these machines, we tell you that the gantry has the capacity to travel up to 20 meters .
Machining center or gantry milling machine?
Now that you know that vertical gantry can be found on machining centers and milling machines, you may be wondering what the difference is between these two machines if they are both capable of machining large parts. The machining center has a tool store that can alternate between one and the other automatically; in gantry milling, however, changing these tools must be manual.
This does not mean that milling machines do not have the same performance as machining centers . A milling machine, for example, can perform different machining functions and can use multiple milling cutters simultaneously to shape the part. The production capacity of both machines has made them an indispensable tool for machining large parts.