Milling Machine GuardsMilling machine guards are two or three-sided enclosures that surround
milling machinery, which contains dangerous cutters. They also protect
machinists and operators from flying swarf, coolant, pieces of the
material that have detached and tool breakages. Milling machine guards
also keep the working environment cleaner and workers safer without
Milling machine guards are a system of panels in a steel tubing or aluminum frame and are always composed of transparent panels so workers are able to see the fabrication process. Milling machines are tools used to form and alter solid materials, including wood, plastic and a variety of metals. Their operations include slot and keyway cutting, planning, drilling, rebating, routing and cutting away material by feeding the workpiece past multiple rotating tooth cutters. They are used mostly in manufacturing facilities, but are also found in school shop classes as well as workshops. When the milling machinery is in operation, all machine guards are locked and secure, no matter what their design; be it static, which is non-moving or traversing, which is able to move without being detached. Milling machine guards are either custom made to exact design specifications or pre-engineered to different sizes. Their size depends on the dimensions of the milling machinery, but is usually larger than other machine guarding pieces.
There are two main types of milling machine guards; those that slide, and those that are stationary. Both are always locked into place while the milling machine is in operation in order to protect workers, but some are able to slide back and fourth along a cross-slide, while others must be detached but can be swung out of place in order to get to the machining area. All milling machine guard panels are transparent and fabricated out of a strong, resistant and shatter proof plastic material called polycarbonate. Polycarbonate provides the same clarity as glass, but is safer to use and longer lasting. Some of the transparent panels are able to slide up and down, giving workers and operators easy access to the machining area without detaching the guard from the machinery. The frame must be very strong and able to handle continuous high impact from materials flying at high speeds. Guards that encase milling machinery are either horizontal or vertical in orientation, depending on the dimensions of the machinery. Horizontal guards slide back and fourth in a linear movement, while vertical guards are taller and might only need partial paneling on the top portion.