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Pod and rail table

Construction type of machine tables on CNC-machining centres.

A pod and rail table (or table with bars and suction cups) usually consists of consoles moving in X direction and spreading in Y-direction (equals the table's width). On these consoles suction cups are mounted that clamp the workpiece via vacuum. However, it is possible to fix mechanical clamping systems to the consoles; often this procedure is used in the processing of solid wood (especially in the window construction).

There are several types of consoles, which offer relating to the suitable suction cups different clamping possibilities (see suction cup).

Positioning aids, e.g. LED luminous tape, LED position indicator or Crosshairs laser, also in combination with automatic clamping device of the consoles, can make the setting up of the machine considerably easier.

As self-adjusting machine table pod and rail tables enable as well the automatic loading, e.g. via robot.

  • Advantages:
  • Accurate to size positioning of the suction cups without problems
  • Easy and fast setting up
  • Outer profiling of the workpiece without bonus (with todays current systems of pod and rail tables)
  • Horizontal processing also with bigger aggregates through a gap between the consoles
  • Flexible use of different clamping devices
  • Multitude of setting up aids and automatic-systems are available
  • Disadvantages:
  • No fully flat workpiece support
  • Position and number of the used suction cups always depend on the consoles
  • Complicated workpiece geometries and narrow workpieces are difficult to clamp
  • Technical lavish system, compared with other kinds of tables

= Similar terms ==


Pod and rail table
WEEKE, 2007
Pod and rail table
IMA, 2006
Pod and rail table with suction cups on seperate base plates
3 rows of stops (Rover C Edge 6.65)
BIESSE, 2006