- What is a CNC machining centre?
- The structure of CNC machining centres
- How does a CNC machining centre operate?
- CNC machining centre accessories
- Maintenance of new and used CNC machining centres
- Where to buy a quality second-hand CNC machining centre?
The acronym CNC in “CNC machining centre” stands for “computer numerical control”, which represents the process of automation of machines, most of which are now operated by a computer command module that contains specifically programmed commands and is generally situated on the machine itself. CNC machining centres are primarily used in metalworking and woodworking industries for the production of complex structures made out of solid materials. In addition, CNC machining centres can be effectively implemented in mass-production. This means that the products that would take days for someone to create manually can be produced in just minutes using a CNC processing centre. Just like with all mass produced products, those manufactured with a CNC machining centre can be created to the desired output level and with a continuously high quality.
- Combined planer, lathe and milling machine
- Production of complex structures made out of solid materials
- Efficient in the mass production of complex components
A CNC machining centre is a machine set which usually combines a milling machine, a lathe and a planer. Originally, milling was performed by a single machine tool called milling machine or a mill. However, after the invention of computer numerical control, certain milling machines have been turned into the entire CNC processing centres that enabled greater control and expansion of the process. Nowadays, the term “CNC machining centre” is generally used to depict almost every CNC milling and drilling machine tool which contains an automatic tool-changer and a table which clamps the workpiece safely in place, but a CNC processing centre can be much more complex as well. Due to their compound structure, CNC processing centres are one of the most complicated machines used for mass-production.
BIESSE CNC machining centre in operation
As for the operation of a typical CNC machining centre, its process is automated to a large extent and computers play an integral part in its control. In fact, during mass-production, only the loading and unloading of components need to be done manually. Firstly, the workpiece is clamped in between the head and tailstock, on the lathe, and processed according to its programme. The sturdiness of the workpiece guarantees that it can be processed by a CNC processing centre with the level of precision of at least one tenth of a millimetre. Depending on the requirements and programming, the workpiece can be rotated and then held in place to be milled or planed. Processing using a milling machine or a planer is secured through the clamping in of the workpiece.
As a CNC machining centre produces a lot of dust, shavings and chippings, a powerful extraction unit is rather useful as it can prevent premature wear and tear, and reduce the need for cleaning and maintenance. During the processing of solid wood, the extracted chippings can be used as a raw material since the pellet industry is always on the lookout for high quality wood chips. This way, the investments made into the extraction unit can be quickly returned by selling wood chips.
It is of essential importance to handle and maintain the machine properly in order to avoid expensive damages to both the machine and the workpiece. Therefore, only qualified cutting machine operators should have access to these complex machines. This is particularly important for the maintenance, installation, and cleaning of a second-hand CNC machining centre because even when processing wood, it is possible to inflict damage on the carbide tools. It is also important to have the continual quality control for all mass-produced products, while the loss in quality can be prevented through periodic sampling. Nevertheless, an appropriate level of maintenance and supervision is required, in order to ensure the safety of the workers and longer life-span of used CNC machining centres.
When buying a used CNC machining centre, it is recommended to undertake a test run with a relatively complicated shaped component and to gain insight into its regular maintenance documentation. It is possible to buy a used CNC machining centre on the market for a fraction of the price of a new one, and those can often be found in good condition on our website, as well as in our industrial auctions, at a competitive price. Some of the most reliable manufacturers of CNC machining centres are BIESSE, MORBIDELLI, WADKIN, ALBERTI, MASTERWOOD and EIMA.