There are two types of milling that can be done using a milling machine. These are conventional milling and climb milling. Both of these types have pros and cons that make them suitable for particular situations.
Milling machines can either be manual or computer numerical controlled (CNC). Manual machines require the operator to manipulate the position of the workpiece and cutting tool along the x, y and z axes. This is done through the use of hand-wheel controls. On the other hand, CNC milling machines are completely automated and follow pre-programmed movements dictated by computer software.
CNC machines are considerably more expensive to buy upfront and require highly skilled workers with advanced training to operate. However, these costs are subsidised by the reduction of ongoing labour costs. CNC milling machines are more precise and are ideal for manufacturers that produce items in large batches.
Milling machines can be dangerous if not used correctly. For this reason, a worker must complete a Fitter and Turner trade certificate and work experience before operating a milling machine. The following VET/TAFE qualifications are the recommended courses to obtain the required skills necessary before completing an apprenticeship.
Milling machines and lathes are both used to reshape workpieces by removing existing material. Although they achieve similar results the means by which they achieve this is different. A lathe fixes a workpiece in place and then spins it. The workpiece is then shaped by an operator on the outside using various shaping tools.
On the other hand, a milling machine holds the workpiece in a movable fixture and cylindrical drill-like tools cut away material.
Milling machines are versatile, however, there are some considerations that should be made when purchasing one. The most important aspect to consider is the complexity of work the machine will be required to complete. Standard machines use three axes to perform the cutting process, however, if the job at hand is more complex it may require additional axes.
Another consideration is the power of the machine. Depending on the material being worked on a higher power mill that operates at a higher speed may be required.
Milling machines are powerful industrial machines used in metal working factories and possess many moving parts. The best way to keep a milling machine in good working order is to provide regular maintenance. As the machine is exposed to air, dirt, grease and off cuts it is important to perform a thorough clean after every use.
Furthermore, the machine should be lubricated periodically as prescribed in the user manual. Daily inspections are also recommended to ensure the machine is safe to use and to prevent small problems from becoming big problems.
Most popular Milling Machine suppliers and brands on IndustrySearch are Field Machine Tools, TJ Machine Tools Pty Ltd, CISCAL Group of Companies.