Mechanical Knowledge

What is a CNC Milling Center? Differences between CNC Milling Center and CNC Milling Machine

What is the difference between a CNC milling machine and a CNC milling center? In fact, this problem is not only confusing for laymen, but also many people in the industry are confused. This article is going to introduce CNC milling center and differences between them.

What is a CNC Milling Center?

The CNC milling center is a CNC milling machine with an automatic exchange device and capable of continuous processing in a variety of processes. It uses the CNC control system to generate digital signals to drive the milling machine mechanism to perform precision machining actions. It is developed from the CNC milling machine. To be brief, the milling center is an upgraded version of the CNC milling machine.

The structure of the CNC milling center is that the Z-axis is the tool spindle rotation, the workpiece moves in the XY plane, and the milling is performed from top to bottom. For a small number of mass production, the CNC milling center can do economical processing. Its advantage is that the circular milling cutter is economical, The metal removal rate is high, and the multi-edge cutting can be performed in a very short time.

Processes that the CNC milling center can do include plane milling, curved surface milling, groove milling, gear milling, and cam milling, etc., and forming milling cutters can be used to complete the milling of complex contours at one time, which is useful for machine production, mold production or tool production operations. In other words, they are all indispensable work tools.

Differences between CNC Milling Center and CNC milling machine

CNC Milling Center is developed from the CNC milling machine, but they have some differences in the following 3 aspects.

1. The biggest difference is whether it has a tool magazine.

Like CNC milling centers, CNC milling machines also have a CNC operating system, three feed axes and a rotating spindle. Their machining mode geometry is exactly the same, and they can basically achieve the same machining capabilities.

CNC Milling Center

The biggest difference between them is to see whether the equipment has a tool magazine or not. The CNC milling center is actually a CNC milling machine with a tool magazine. The CNC milling center can achieve one clamping and complete multiple machining processes, such as milling and drilling. Tapping processing, etc., because it can realize automatic tool replacement, and in the continuous processing of multiple processes, the operator does not need manual intervention, as long as the program is programmed, the tool and the corresponding parameters are configured. This is not the case with the CNC milling machine. The CNC milling machine can also achieve multiple processes in a single clamping process. The difference is that in the process conversion process, the tool must be changed manually, so the processing process is discontinuous and is interrupted to multiple degrees. Continuing to execute, such processing is slightly inferior to the processing center in terms of processing quality and processing efficiency.

Due to the concentration of processes and automatic tool change, the machining center reduces the time of workpiece clamping, measurement and machine tool adjustment, so that the cutting time of the machine tool reaches about 80% of the machine start time (normal machine tool is only 15-20%); at the same time It also reduces the work piece turnover, handling and storage time between processes, shortens the production cycle, and has obvious economic effects. The machining center is suitable for small and medium batch production with complicated parts, high precision requirements and frequent product replacement.

So when you see a piece of equipment in the future, you can directly determine whether it is a CNC milling machine or a CNC milling center by whether it has a tool magazine. This is the gold standard.

2. Whether it is full protection

In fact, this is not absolute for many equipment. Many CNC milling machines have gradually begun to be fully protected. Of course, there are also many old-fashioned CNC milling machines that are still open or semi-protected. To a certain extent, this is different from the current CNC milling center. Of course, this difference is not absolute.

Actually, this has a lot to do with the development process of equipment. In the initial stage of numerical control of processing equipment, many manufacturers do not pay much attention to appearance design and safety protection. Basically, they still stay on the demand for functions, so many numerical control The milling machines are all made in an open form, or the better one is a semi-open form. Although this kind of CNC milling machine has no major defects in function, it still has major deficiencies in terms of processing safety and processing environment. For example, the high-temperature iron filings produced by the processing will splash on the human body and cause harm to the human body. The coolant used to cool the tool during the processing will also splash on the operator, staining the operator’s clothes, etc. Therefore, despite the progress in the research and development of production equipment, especially the invasion of foreign high-end equipment, the design and manufacture of processing equipment in our country is also moving towards a more humane, more beautiful, and more artistic road.

This is a process, and any progress requires a process. Product technology and product art are the unified requirements for industrial products in the future and the only way for the future development of industrial products.

3. Whether with automatic chip conveyor

This criterion is not an absolute criterion like the previous one. It is also a mobile criterion based on the development process of processing equipment. The reason is also due to some hindsight in the research and development of previous equipment. Due to functional trade-offs, many new-style CNC milling machines with full protection and automatic chip conveyors are basically standard equipment, which is not much different from machining centers.

chip conveyor

But for those old-fashioned CNC milling machines, this criterion is still useful. After all, a device that is not even protected is not daring to ask for automatic chip removal. In fact, the current machinery industry practitioners should be grateful. This era, this era provides the technology and ability to liberate our hands, allowing us to engage in our own jobs more easily and efficiently, and with the all-round development of Industry 4.0, this liberation of labor is also frantically speeding up. It will even lead to the elimination of a lot of labor or labor methods, and we must always be prepared.

Is a CNC milling center better than a CNC Milling Machine?

Based on the above differences, if you want to choose a milling machine, of course it is better to choose a CNC milling center. At least the machining efficiency is much higher and the machining range is much larger, especially when used with the fourth-axis rotary table. It's an artifact.

If you want to learn a processing equipment, you should also learn the operation of the machining center. At least it is more complicated in programming, and more complicated in fixture design and processing technology. After all, it is It is necessary to test technology and ability, of course, this is also the guarantee of processing quality.

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