If you’re a job shop, you buy machines to make money, and chances are you’re using vertical machining centers. The machine you buy, and how you deploy it, has everything to do with how profitable your shop will be.
If you’re like most machine shops, you have tons of machining capacity sitting idle on your shop floor. The average vertical machining center, even when it’s in cycle, isn’t cutting 30% of the time. Worse, the real cutting, that other 70%, is likely much slower than what’s achievable with today’s technology. Add all the other time your machine isn’t running—setup, workpiece load/unload, cutting tool maintenance, clearing chips, etc.—and the typical vertical machining center is only making chips 34% of the time. Multiply all those wasted hours by your shop rate, and that’s what non-cutting time is costing you day after day, year after year.
Simply, to get more production out of a vertical machining center, you just have to do two things:
- Decrease cycle times by improving metal removal rates and reducing parasitic non-cutting time.
- Increase spindle utilization by eliminating unnecessary interruptions to production.
That’s easier said than done, and your options can be limited when using outdated or under-powered equipment. Here’s what to consider making more money with your next and existing vertical machining centers.
More Efficient Machining
There are about 260 vertical machining center builders to choose from, and often their spec sheets look pretty much the same. There are, however, a few key factors that really differentiate one machine from another:
Rapid Rates –
In-cycle non-cutting time is mainly comprised of rapid traverse moves and tool changes. The rapid rate is always on the spec sheet, but just as important is the axis acceleration/deceleration rates because they determine how quickly speeds max can be achieved. If moves are small, the real rapid rate may not matter at all, but larger moves (and parts) it can indeed be consequential.
HP is another widely misinterpreted spec, because what really matters is not the one top HP number on the spec sheet, but how much power the machine can generate across the entire speed range.
It’s the same situation with torque. Available torque at the low end makes a huge difference in achievable metal removal rates, particularly when hogging metal at slower speeds. Just like in a car, torque becomes less important as spindle speed increases. There, the machine’s ability to hold accuracy at higher feed rates becomes the critical factor.
The ability to cut at high spindle speeds isn’t just about metal removal rates. It enables shops to use some of the enhanced cutting tools that have come out in recent years that are designed for high-speed machining. Moreover, in combination with the ability to accurately execute high feed rates, high-speed cutting enables shops to more efficiently generate excellent quality 3D surfaces when required.
A machine’s ability to perform well in all of these aspects—power, torque and speed—is especially critical to a job shop that cuts a wide variety of materials. One day you’re facing off a steel part and want to use as big a cutter as possible; you need torque. The next day, you’re hogging aluminum and need power. Then you move to brass where you need speed. What you really need is a vertical machining center that handles all of these requirements.
If you have any interest in vertical machining centers, I recommend that you can visit Tailift Co., Ltd. – the company specializes in kinds of high quality machinery, such as CNC punch press, laser cutting machine, radial drill machine, and machining centers. Get more details, welcome to check out their website and feel free to contact with Tailift.