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Streamlining the Production Process with Phillips Opto


How does a Horizontal Mill Work?

CNC Milling, a critical component of the ever-evolving machining sector, allows for high precision machining and improves the quality of the final product.

There are two major types of CNC milling machines – horizontal mills and vertical mills – each with its own unique structure, features, and applications. Let us understand the meaning and workings of a horizontal CNC milling machine.

Meaning and Working of a Horizontal Mill

Milling is a popular and frequently used machining process involving a milling machine that utilizes a rotating unit and shaft movements to drill, cut, or rough a stationary workpiece to chip away the excess material and achieve the desired shape.

Horizontal CNC milling machines feature a horizontally aligned spindle, parallel to the workstation. The rotating, motor-driven spindle contains a cutting tool that can move up and down along a shaft to produce the desired shapes, details, slots, and holes.

Horizontal CNC milling machines are great for complex projects, such as working on multiple slides and planes, cutting multiple grooves/slots in a workpiece, completing major projects with heavy workpieces, and so on.

A spindle, arbor, arbor support/bracket, overhanging arm, table, column, saddle, knee, and base comprise a horizontal CNC milling machine.


  • Spindle: Grips the cutting tool and offers the rotation
  • Arbor: Bar on which the spindle is affixed
  • Arbor support/bracket: Holds the end of the arbor opposite to the spindle; is attached to the overhanging arm
  • Overhanging arm: Support and align the arbor
  • Table: Securely hold the workpiece
  • Base: Primary part of major milling machines; holds and aligns the machine; supports the table
  • Column: Hold, support, and align the machine
  • Saddle: Allows and supports Y-axis table movement; is attached to the knee
  • Knee: Positions the workpiece by moving up and down; supports the table and the saddle

A few horizontal mills feature a pre-fitted rotary table, also called a universal table, that permits different milling operations at varied angles.

The horizontally-oriented, moving spindle stretches across the work table and can hold a range of cutting tools. The machine head drives the rotating spindle, which is supported at one end by the machine head and a sliding bridge-held bearing on the other. A matching adjustable worktable feeds

The key benefit of a horizontal mill is the spindle arbor-mounted rotating cutters. Called the face and side mills, these cutters resemble a circular saw with their cross-section placements; however, horizontal mill cutters are smaller in diameter and wider.
Other features and benefits of a horizontal CNC milling machine are:

  1. Better than vertical mills for complex projects
  2. Thick and short cutting tools
  3. 45-degree clockwise and anti-clockwise rotation of the milling head
  4. Spindle sleeves can be fed manually in minute amounts 
  5. Horizontal as well vertical manual/automatic feeding of the worktable
  6. Gear speed change mechanism for the primary drive and feed with varied speed regulations
  7. Spindle bearing features energy consumption braking with dependable braking, quick stop, and large braking torque, along with tapered roller bearing with strong bearing capacity
  8. Highly stable rectangular guide rail
  9. Super audio frequency to quench the guide rail and worktable

Horizontal CNC milling machines are extremely robust and sturdy machines and are the ideal choice if the removal of bulk material in a short span of time is a priority over precision and accuracy. 

You can check out leading providers like Phillips Corp for varied types of milling machines, such as Toyoda Milling Machines and more.


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