MoldMaking Technology

AUG 2018

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Machining 12 MoldMaking Technology —— AUGUST 2018 By Bill Howard and John Einberger HMCs Are Not Just for Big Manufacturing Horizontal machining centers can help reduce the coolant, perishable cutting tools and labor costs associated with running a machining center in shops of any size. N ow more than ever, increasing productivity is crucial for shops that want to maintain their competitive position in the mar- ketplace. It is the driving force compelling shop owners to make informed, smart decisions that will keep their companies not only in business, but profitable. The challenge for owners is figuring out what will help them meet their needs today and what will help them continue to meet their needs three to five years down the line. For example, should the next purchase be another vertical machining center (VMC), or is it time to invest in a horizontal machining center (HMC)? According to HMC and VMC consumption data from the United States Manufacturing Technology Orders (USMTO), there are traditionally almost four times the number of VMCs sold as HMCs in a given year. In 2017, there were approximately 7,800 VMC units sold and 1,600 HMC units sold. The reason for this difference in sales is that many more operators are comfortable with VMCs, and historically VMCs are much less expensive. HMCs on the Rise The 2018 Capital Spending Survey by Gardner Intelligence shows that despite the initial expense, shops are turning toward HMCs more for increased productivity, process flexibility and cost reduction. This survey collects statistics on budget- ed spending on machine tools, testing equipment, software etc., which are then projected across the metalworking industry based on plant size. Of the $7.5 billion of projected spending on machine tools in 2018, $1.8 billion (or almost 25 Images courtesy of Makino. When an HMC uses a tombstone-type fixture, it can provide twice as much work to the spindle as a VMC. This tombstone fixture has a pattern of bushing and threaded holes for use with zero-point, quick coupling components that are used to locate and clamp a large mold and die workpiece on an HMC, providing quick, productive part change-over.

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