Horizontal CNC machine tools use spindles that operate parallel to the ground, as opposed to vertical machines where the spindle is oriented vertically. Due to their horizontal orientation, horizontal CNC mills use shorter, more robust cutting tools that can achieve deeper and more robust cuts on the workpiece.
High Speed Results With Horizontal Milling Equipment
While horizontal and vertical CNC machining are better suited to different types of projects, there is significant overlap between the two. When considering horizontal CNC milling for your project, here are some key advantages.
High Feed Rate
Horizontal CNC mills feed the substrate quickly through the machining center, replacing the need for deep milling passes with lighter cuts and facilitating an overall increase in efficiency and quality. Maintaining a consistently fast feed rate also keeps the workpieces and cutting tools continuously in motion.
Milling at Different Angles
Horizontal CNC equipment can apply tools to the workpiece at numerous angles. 4-axis and 5-axis machinery employ multiple spindles simultaneously at different angles, allowing the machinery to create complex parts in fewer cycles.
Thanks to more efficient feeding and multi-axis simultaneous cutting, horizontal CNC machining processes are fast. Operators and part designers can create seamless command sequences that lead to fast production with fewer cycles per part.
Ability to Machine Complex Parts
CNC machines follow instruction sets derived from product design files. They can create complex cuts and machine workpieces from multiple different angles with a high degree of precision. This allows the machinery to create everything from stand-alone products to components used in complex assemblies.
Platforms for Advanced Tooling
Horizontal machining centers can be outfitted with dozens of different tools, making them capable of handling a wide variety of materials and operations. Cutting tool technology is constantly evolving, and modern CNC equipment can be outfitted with new tool attachments and upgraded with software that can execute matching commands as it becomes available.
Shorter Processing Time Per Part
CNC machines are built to be able to produce high volumes of goods with little-to-no interruption. The time saved processing each part compounds into significant reductions in overall production time.
Horizontal machining centers offer broad variety of functions, and operators can adjust programming sequences to shift between different orders and products quickly. Using CNC machining centers gives manufacturers and product designers more options and flexibility on virtually any project.
Precision and Repeatability
CNC machines execute specific instructions without derivation or the risk of human error. Each spindle makes precise cuts and alterations, so every product is a near-identical match to the original product design within extremely tight tolerances.
Easier Chip Evacuation
Leaving chips in machinery results in faster wear and reduced product quality. Horizontal CNC mills with built-in tools reduce the risk of chips being left in the machinery and also eliminate the need for operators to stop the machinery for regular chip cleanup. By reducing the spread of chips and excess workpiece material across the workshop floor, cleanup becomes easier and faster.
Types of Horizontal CNC Tools
Horizontal CNC milling include these types of tools:
- CNC horizontal boring mills. These tools bore horizontally oriented holes and come in floor, planer, and table varieties.
- CNC horizontal machining centers. Horizontal machining centers have spindles parallel to the ground and can more easily handle deeper cuts than vertical machining centers
- High-speed horizontal machining center. High-speed CNC horizontal machining centers are specially designed for faster processing and chip evacuation, making them especially useful for quickly producing complex parts.
Horizontal vs. Vertical Mill: Which Should You Choose?
Horizontal and vertical CNC tools each offer an array of complex cutting and machining capabilities. Vertical setups are cost-effective, nearly universal, and easy to work with, which makes them a good option for basic production needs. Ideal applications include producing goods that need to be machined on a single side and creating simple parts.
Horizontal CNC mills are more expensive and less common, but they operate at a much higher production rate and create parts with a smoother finish. They’re ideal for parts with slots or holes, workpieces that require machining on multiple sides, or parts made from heavy materials.
Quality Services From RAM Tool, Inc.
At RAM Tool, Inc., we specialize in providing precision machining services. Our team can help you choose the right milling methods and equipment for any project. Contact us today to learn more.