Many companies use the lateral milling machine for fast and precise machining of large aluminium profiles, such as those used in aircraft construction. These high-quality CNC milling machines of impressive dimensions may sometimes fill an entire production hall. Travelling distances of 20,000 mm (X-axis) are not uncommon at all. Lateral milling machines machine the workpiece vertically, which facilitates chip removal, among other things. Thanks to the powerful control system and swivelling milling head, many machines are suitable for fast 5-axis machining. Lateral milling machines are occasionally offered as used machines, and at Surplex - the specialist for high-quality used machines - is where to look for them.
A lateral milling machine is a type of CNC-milling machine used mainly for large workpieces. The special characteristic of lateral milling machine is the vertical positioning of the workpieces. Lateral milling machines are mainly used for the processing of bulky aluminium profiles.
The first difference between a lateral milling machine and a CNC milling machine lies in its size. Lateral milling machines can process large workpieces with high levels of accuracy, which is what CNC-machines can do with small workpieces. The vertical positioning of the workpieces has the advantage that the chippings resulting from the processing of the workpiece can quickly fall away. Thereby, they do not need to be additionally blown away or transported away using cooling lubricants. Nevertheless, some milling and drilling operations using a lateral milling machine have to be cooled, in order to avoid excessive wear on the tools.
A lateral milling machine is made out of a very stable mounting table and a column, where the milling head is attached. The column can move along the x-axis and the milling head along the y and z-axes. The milling head on high-end lateral milling machines has a slewing capacity. Depending on its dimensions, a lateral milling machine usually also has a cover. Some lateral milling machines are so big, that the column holding the tool requires its own operator?s cab. For machines with these dimensions, a separate hall for the operation of these machines is necessary. It is necessary, in all cases, that the lateral milling machine has its own foundation. Lateral milling machine need to have easy access to cooling lubricants, high-voltage currents and compressed air, to get rid of chippings around the machine. A comprehensive security notice in the form of warning signs in the close vicinity of lateral milling machines is useful.
Working with a lateral milling machine should only be done by specialist staff. Lateral milling machines are cost intensive machines, where damage could easily occur through negligence or insufficient knowledge. Even the loading and cleaning of the machine should be undertaken by trained staff. Because lateral milling machines are not so different from CNC-milling machines, in terms of their basic composition, they are suitable workplaces for cutting machine operators.
Lateral milling machines are not a standard product, but regarded a special machine. Therefore, they are only produced by a small amount of manufacturers that are specialised on manufacturing milling machines. As the lateral milling machine must produce workpieces to the same quality as the CNC-milling machine, they are manufactured to the same quality. Established suppliers of lateral milling machines are FOOKE, KINKELE, SHW, MECOF and CME.