Travelling-column Milling Machines

The bed-type milling machine: for heavy workpieces
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KEKEISEN VFB 1200 / 8 Vertical Machining Centre
AWEA VP 2012 CNC Vertical Gantry Bridge Mill
Portugal, 2430-012 Amieira, Marinha Grande
AWEA VP 2012 CNC Vertical Gantry Bridge Mill

Gantry type milling machines are special heavy-duty machines. They are equipped with a rigid machine bed with no moving table. The main spindle is mounted vertically on the moveable column so that all movements in each axis originate solely from the milling unit. A machine concept that combines stability and speed. With the appropriate components - modern CNC control (e.g. HEIDENHAIN), swivel head, automatic tool changer - complete machining is also possible. High-quality gantry type milling machines are in high demand even when used. At Surplex you can buy a used gantry type milling machine at auction straight from a location in Europe.

The moving column milling machine is a milling machine featuring a bed-design whose three translationally moving axes are all assigned to the tool. The workpiece holder is firmly attached to the rigid machine bed. The column can be moved horizontally in two axis directions and the milling unit moves vertically across it. This style of design makes the travelling column milling machine especially suited to machining heavy parts.

Milling is a manufacturing process that is very similar to drilling, however, the feed movement primarily occurs vertically along the tool axis.

  • Milling machine with bed-like design
  • Ideal for processing heavy workpieces
  • Particularly suited to slender workpiece shapes
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This places considerably higher demands on the lateral guidance of the tool. This is why milling came rather late onto the scene as a manufacturing process; it only started in earnest with the development of industrial tool machines and the invention of the steam engine.

The first milling machine was constructed in 1818. In contrast to the lathe, it enabled the machine-supported manufacture of prismatic workpieces without any rotational symmetry and thus increased the range of options for workpiece design. The design of this machine moves all translational movements within the range of the tool holder.

CHIRON Travelling column milling machine in operation

Since the workpiece does not move while being machined on the column mill, the design enables very bulky and heavy components to be milled, which are often large enough to be measured in tonnes. The spindle in the column mill can be placed vertically or horizontally and the equipment can also be designed as a universal milling machine. As with all modern tool machines, moving column milling machines are usually numerically-controlled.

The travelling column milling machine is ideally suited to machining large and heavy parts, which would otherwise produce too much strain on the workpiece holder if constructed in a console-type design. The workspace of a moving column mill is relatively limited and can only accommodate movement in two directions. This is due to the height of the column and the bending load acting on the frame, which increases the further away the tool is from the column. On the other hand, the third method of extending the workpiece can, in principle, be as large as required. Travelling column milling machines are particularly suited to machining workpieces with slender shapes, such as railway tracks, but also train chassis, engine blocks, or models for creating injection moulds. The large workspace of these machines also makes it possible to process several workpieces in one clamping operation, which helps reduce set-up times.

The moving column milling machine is specially designed version of the bed-type milling machine.

As such, companies which produce milling machines do not necessarily produce this type of tool machine. Due to increasing consolidation amongst tool machine manufacturers, some traditional moving column mill manufacturers are no longer independent companies. Company names to be found on travelling column milling machines include CHIRON, GILDEMEISTER (DECKEL/MAHO/DMG MORI SEIKI), MATEC, MECOF, SHW, SORALUCE and ZAYER. So, you would like to buy a used travelling column milling machine? You can rely on the expert advice from Surplex. We frequently have a large selection of used moving column milling machines for sale in a very good condition. Check out our used machinery portal regularly or subscribe to our newsletter to be among the first to be informed about our industrial auctions. If you have any questions, feel free to contact our skilled team who are on hand to provide information and advice.