Denotes a functional unit of CNC machining centers, at which processing aggregates are attached.
The aggregates support usually is the entire unit, which is moved by the Y-axis.
In most cases, the entire aggregates support is also moved by the Z-axis. The individual aggregates like drilling block, router head or saw are moved down for the processing of the workpiece by an additional pneumatic hoisting device, in order to have sufficient distance to the other tools.
On some machines, a ride-along tool changer is mounted on the aggregates support in addition to the processing aggregates.
On some machines (e.g. Weeke Venture series) there are 2 separated Z-axes at the aggregates support. Thus, the aggregates support is at a fixed working height. Here, instead of the pneumatic hoisting device, router head and drilling block can be moved separately controlled.
A special form of aggregates support is occasionally used on cantilever machines. Here, an aggregates support is located on both sides of the cantilever. These two supports, however, are only coupled with each other by a sort of saddle-shaped connector above the cantilever and have a common Y-axis (e.g. CMS Triax).
Another special form is found on gantry machines, which are especially designed for the industrial use in series production, e.g. the manufacturing of MDF furniture doors. Here, several workpieces are often milled simultaneously. For flexibility reasons, each individual router head is equipped with its own Z-axis and its own aggregates support. All aggregates supports have a common Y-axis (tow axis), but the distances can be adjusted manually. In modern machines, additional drilling blocks can often be found next to the router heads.
There are some machines, which have several aggregates supports each with their own Y-axes. This concept is used on cantilever machines as well as on gantry machines. This was introduced by Homag and IMA for the first CNC machining centers for the edgebanding aggregate, since here, a meaningful use had initially only been possible with a separate Y-axis and own aggregates support. Since about 2000, gantry machine have been offered with up to 4 independent aggregates supports (2 each on both sides of the portal).
Meanwhile, there are also some machines without edgebanding aggregates that have 2 independent aggregates supports on both sides of the cantilever.