MoldMaking Technology

AUG 2018

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moldmakingtechnology.com 13 percent of all spending) will be on HMCs, compared to $1.6 billion on VMCs. These projections would make 2018 the fourth year within the last 10 in which investment in HMCs outpaced spending on VMCs, despite the higher unit volumes of VMCs on the market. This projected spending data points to the growing recognition of the benefits associated with HMCs and supports the trend that horizontals are acknowledged for the enormous value that they bring to manufacturing. All the same, a linger- ing concern is whether HMCs are a moneymaker for the "large shops" in the aerospace, automotive and die and mold industries but not for other, smaller ventures, too. The answer lies in the advantages that HMCs offer to any shop— regardless of size—that has the goal of reducing costs and increasing productivity. Additional data in the Capital Spending Survey backs this up. It shows that job shops plan to spend almost $800 million on HMCs in 2018. This amount is more than four times the projected spending on HMCs by larger automotive and aero- space manufacturers. This data is encouraging news because job shops, including mold building shops, are perfect examples of the types of metalworking facilities that have a lot to gain by using an HMC. Increased productivity and reduced costs result in increased sales and profits, and these basic economic factors are as true for the small shops as they are for the big guys. The bottom line is that any business that offers its customers lower costs and a faster turnaround time is much more competitive than one that does not offer these benefits. HMC Functions and Features The work envelope, workpiece access and gravity provide HMCs with their big- gest advantages in the manufacturing of mold and die components. For example, chip management, which is essential for cutting-tool durability, comes naturally for an HMC. Its design and construction enable gravity to assist with pulling the chips away from the part and into the chip-management area, decreasing wear and tear on perishable cutting tools. Also, the workpiece on the vertical plane and the horizontal positioning of the spindle in this system move the chips away from The biggest advantages of HMCs in the manufacturing of mold and die components are a result of its work envelope, workpiece access and gravity. The Key to HMC Automation With fewer skilled workers available to set up, pro- gram and run machines, shops must develop auto- mated processes to keep producing parts. This is an area where HMCs shine because not only can one HMC perform the same amount of work as multiple VMCs, it also can produce a greater number and variety of parts without human intervention. The key is the index table (or full contouring fourth axis) under the work. Take, for example, a part that needs machining on six sides at one minute per part. An HMC using the index or fourth axis addresses all six sides of the part in two setups. HMC cycle time is: Operation 1: three minutes (3 sides) 10-second pallet change Operation 2: three minutes (3 sides) Total HMC Cycle Time = 6.17 minutes Now, consider the same application on a VMC. This machine requires six fixtures or chucks to address all six sides of the part. Also, between each operation, the operator must remove the finished part and move it to the next operation. VMC cycle time is: Operation 1 setup: one minute Operation 1: three minutes (3 sides) Operation 2 setup: one minute Operation 2: three minutes (3 sides) Operation 3 setup: one minute Operation 3: three minutes (3 sides) Operation 4 setup: one minute Operation 4: three minutes (3 sides) Operation 5 setup: one minute Operation 5: three minutes (3 sides) Operation 6 setup: one minute Operation 6: three minutes (3 sides) Total VMC Cycle Time: 24 minutes

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