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Seven facts about double column machining centers

Source:International Metalworking News for Asia     Date:2022-10-05
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Have you encounter restrictions in accepting orders for larger and heavier components or even difficult to machine materials? 


Difficult to machine parts or materials have become essential and part of today’s many variations and industries, such as aerospace, commercial vehicles, shipbuilding, machinery manufacturing, construction, power generation, windmills, even mould & die and semiconductor.


Stepping up to double column machining centers can raise the limits on the component types and sizes you can machine to expand your machining capability and grow above or separate you from your competition.


Double column machining centers offer specific sizes, functions and advantages. Understanding the fundamentals will enable you to make the best suited choice for your next bigger machine, possibly a double column machining center selected.


#1 Machine design & structure

Double column machining centers are designed to cater larger part dimensions, as well as much higher stabilities compared to traditional C-Frame machines, providing capabilities to machine large and heavy workpieces as well as tough materials. They are typically much heavier, therefore much more rigid and stable, reducing vibration and with that offer better part finish. Of course, all is subjective to build quality and design as well as materials used.


The slant structure of Hwacheon’s SIRIUS (1250/1350/2500) of Y-axis moves on the reference face of slide way, providing excellent straightness and stability during cutting. The symmetrical bridge type structure disperses the vibration, load and heat to the double columns equally. This enables stable cutting and very little deformations. The movement with work piece is only in X-axis direction. The Y and Z axis are free from exterior or changing weight influence and condition. Thus, provide a very high stable and precise cutting.


#2 Table size

Double column machining center typically provides a spacious table, two columns and the cross rail / beam mounted on the columns, to hold and support the spindle head. The table provides sufficient space to mount single larger parts or multiple workpieces anywhere on the table, set up at one time.


#3 Spindle

The center of the spindle, where most of the cutting force will be applied, is close to the Y-axis. This increases rigidity and stability of the whole machine. Tighter tolerance will be achieved while enabling the machine to operate at optimum cutting speed.


#4 Accuracy & tolerance

As the spindle is closer to the columns of the machine, there is very little “overhang”, the machine accuracy achieved is higher. The rigidity and stability of the overall machine significantly reduce negative vibrations, tool deflection and therefore offers much better cutting conditions.


#5 Chip removal

Rigid slant covers and chip conveyors installed on both sides of the table ensure sufficient and effective chip removal, even during large volumes of chips being removed from the workpiece.


#6 Floor space

Double column machining center typically take up less floor space, which translate to savings in overall operational costs, compared to a same size C-Frame machine.


#7 Price

The initial purchase price of double column machining center tends to be higher compared to other designs. However, the advantages are compensating such higher price by far. Overall, there are big differences between double column design machines and C-Frame machines. Based on the intended usage, the price can be double or higher despite that the technical data look similar on paper. A machine designed for mould & die application (e.g.: Hwacheon’s SIRIUS series) providing very high accuracy and surface standards compared to a double column machining center sold at half the price and suitable for standard parts manufacturing only, the tolerances achieved are far bigger compared to a mould & die version. 


Well-designed double column machining center reduces operational cost and provide higher returns. Less vibration result in less wear on critical components resulting in a longer life span of the machine.


Source: Hwacheon

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