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The CNC Vertical Machining Center

Posted By: Leah Austin

The backbone of any machine shop is the vertical machine center. It is a common tool found in most practical machine shops. Some feature variations of this stock-in-trade. These are the vertical computer numerical control or CNC machining centers.

What is a Vertical Machining Center?

A vertical machining center is a prominent feature of many machine shops. It is often referred to as a vertical spindle. It performs to its potential machining on flat work pieces with cavities and long holes. The machines come in various sizes and have diverse features.

The purpose of any machine center is to add versatility to the production of metal goods. Flexibility is also characteristics of a good machine center. This is the reason why a vertical machine center remains a primary selection among machine tools by shops.

Overall, a vertical machining center is capable of handling the following functions:

  • Threading internally and externally
  • Boring
  • Drill reaming
  • Milling
  • Tapping

This is all possible in one set-up. The vertical machining center takes care of round objects that earlier would have been machined on a conventional lathe. Moreover, the possibilities of a vertical machining center increase – both in terms of flexibility and versatility with the addition of CNC.

The Advantage of a Vertical CNC Machining Centers

The addition of computer numerical control to a machining center can prove to be beneficial. Vertical CNC machining centers can create 3-dimensional shapes using CAD programs. If to this an operator adds an A-B head and/or a rotary table, the potential for shape designs is virtually unlimited. In fact, the machine can now produce any form that is drawn on a computer screen.

With vertical CNC machining centers, programs are stored and not rerun as they would with a numerical control (NC) system. Moreover, the programs ensure updates, revisions and editing is accomplished with ease. Subroutines are also incorporated into executive commands for some CNC machining centers. This results in the ability for programmers to provide certain added features such as built-in trouble diagnosis.

Machine centers are intended to provide flexibility and versatility for machining. Instead of a simple lathe, a vertical machine center can incorporate the functions of other machining tools. If the systems a shop selects are vertical CNC machine centers, the capability increases as do the advantages involving production, safety, quality and cost.

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