A toolroom mill is very similar to a universal milling machine, but it is typically smaller and more compact. A standard toolroom milling machine is preferred by smaller operations or as a backup to primary production lines. This relatively simple piece of equipment produces precision work on a much smaller scale than other types of milling machine. In addition, minimal setup is required, which makes it ideal for the production of spare parts and individual tools in relatively small manufacturing operations.
A tool room mill shapes a metal workpiece to create component parts for a wide range of applications. The workpiece is fixed onto the work table, and a multi-axis milling head performs the necessary work. This simple item of toolroom equipment is usually significantly cheaper than a universal milling machine, and it is generally used to form individual workpieces on a case by case basis. For mass production, universal milling machines are usually the preferred option.
The tool is linked to a drive shaft that is capable of spinning at various speeds through the use of an upstream transmission. The machine table holds the piece firmly in place whilst managing the feeding movements. The older tool room machines rely heavily on input from the user, so a high level of training is essential. However, a CNC toolroom mill has its movements precisely managed by a central computer. A computer program manages the process, but the user is still responsible for ensuring the inputs are accurate. These automated toolroom machines are capable of exceptional levels of accuracy and much greater yields. Toolroom CNC milling machines may be more expensive than manual alternatives, but they deliver significant cost-savings over time.
The tools required for manufacturing are usually produced one at a time with great precision. This requires a high degree of attention and supervision by a fully trained machine mechanic. While the quality of the tool room milling machine is a major contributing factor to the quality and accuracy of the final product, the competency of the user is also of paramount importance. The process of creating quality tool room tools requires specialist knowledge and a great deal of experience. This is why most companies employ a dedicated tool maker. Not only does this individual set up the tool room mill and supervise the production process, he or she is also responsible for cleaning and preventative maintenance.
Tool room equipment can be very expensive when bought new, which is why small and medium-sized companies often search for quality, reconditioned used tool room machinery. But there is another advantage to buying used tool room equipment over new. Machines that have arrived direct from their manufacturers don’t have a service history to check. And because even the slightest of errors in the manufacturing process can result in the production of substandard workpieces, any problems with a new toolroom machine won’t be noticed until it has gone into operation. Used tool room equipment, on the other hand, has usually created thousands of tools over the course of its lifetime. In fact, you can often inspect the components built by the used toolroom milling machine before you decide to buy it.
At Surplex, we source quality toolroom machinery — including CNC milling machines — on a regular basis. Among the recommended manufacturers we often feature at auction are MIKRON, DECKEL, MAHO, HERMLE, KLOPP and KUNZMANN. If you can’t find what you’re looking for today, keep checking the Surplex.com sale, as we’re sourcing used machinery all of the time. Alternatively, you can sign up to our newsletter to be among the first to hear of our latest offers.