The Importance of Milling Machines
Although metalworking machines had existed in the United States since the early 1860s, these machines could only produce one part at a time and were more labor-intensive. Toward the end of World War II and with the invention of the jet engine, the demand for more complex parts grew. There was also a period of conflict between machinists and the management of large companies. These factors together created a demand for automated equipment that could produce a large number of preferred components in a repeatable, accurate, efficient, and reliable manner.
The first numerically controlled (CNC) equipment was developed in the 1950s in collaboration with the U.S. Air Force and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The Air Force wanted to produce rotor blades for helicopters, which required precise machining of complex shapes. The equipment developed for the job was controlled electronically, without the use of a computer. Although unreliable and expensive, it was capable of automatically and precisely producing the necessary components. It also laid the groundwork for its modern complement, which is widely used today.
Throughout the 1960s, precision CNC machines continued to be built, and special computers were developed to support and extend their functionality. By the late 1970s, CNC machines were just being assembled. As the price of personal computers fell in the 1980s, manufacturers seized the opportunity to reduce the costs associated with more CNC machines and the development of reliability.
VMC850 milling machine
VMC850 milling machine work by using computers to send signals to a stepper motor controller. The computer then tells the pedometer (a motor that converts electrical impulses into precise mechanical motion) which direction to move and how many steps to take. The motor is connected to the machine, which drives the blades on the X, Y and Z axes. Various CNC machines use servo motors instead of stepper motors. The advantage of using a servo motor is that metal can be cut at high speeds and the machine knows its position precisely because of the return ring.
The computerization of CNC has led to fewer errors in part machining and has also reduced the amount of intervention required by CNC machine operators, freeing them up to perform other tasks.
For precision machining of small to medium-sized parts, Ultra Precision Engineering uses a powerful, state-of-the-art CNC milling center that can perform many different machining processes in one precise operation.