The various types of milling machine can be difficult to categorise and some device functions overlap those of other devices. However, the following criteria can be used as a rough way of dividing the machines into categories:
- Spindle position (horizontal/vertical)
- Control type (conventional/CNC)
- Machine body (console-, bed-, gantry-design)
- Application (e.g. high-speed milling)
- Material (metal/wood/plastic)
Below you will find a (non-exhaustive) list of some widespread types of machine:
A standard milling machine with a fixed-location spindle (horizontal or vertical), movable machine table and adjustable console.
Milling machines in operation
A standard milling machine with two spindles (horizontal or vertical), movable machine table and adjustable longitudinal and transverse slides.
CNC processing centre
A milling machine designed for complete, automated processing. Vertical milling machines and horizontal milling machines are available. A further distinction can be made in terms of machine body (console design etc.).
Bed-type milling machine
The securely positioned machine bed prevents tipping. Suitable for heavy and cumbersome milled parts. Conventional or CNC.
Gantry milling machine
The milling unit is guided along a transverse beam between two uprights. Long travel distance and enhanced rigidity. Conventional or CNC.
Copying milling machine
Scans models or templates, transfers the pattern to the milling unit and mills the required contours into the workpiece without any numerical controls.
High-speed milling centre (HSC)
Extremely high cycle and feed rate speed, the resulting chip thickness is substantially less than with other milling methods.
A machining process for gear cutting, as well as cutting splines/sprockets, and offsetting profiles at any desired angle.
Other metalworking machines
Long milling machine, slot milling machine, thread milling machine, engraving milling machine, switching table mill, shift drum milling machine etc.
Underfloor mill, router, groove milling machine, table milling machine, chain mortiser etc.
- Distinction made depending on spindle position, control type, machine body, etc.
- CNC machining centres are the standard choice for automated serial production
- A universal milling machine with pivoting head is indispensable for any type of wood- or metalworking operation