Changing a three-axis machining process from a vertical machining center (VMC) to a horizontal machining center (HMC) offers many benefits including increased spindle utilization time, less part handling, and expandable automatic tool changers (ATC) and automatic pallet changers (APC).
These advantages result in increased tool capacity and manufacturing productivity.
For example, horizontal CNC machines are equipped with massive ATCs compared to their vertical counterparts that ultimately drive a machine shop’s productivity.
“The more tools you have on a machine, the more jobs you can have lined up,” said Bernie Otto, Methods Machine Tools’ director of technical product support. “And that means less manual intervention and less changeover time.”
Many horizontal machine tool brands are equipped with ATCs that can be expanded the field. Machine tools offered by KIWA Machinery Co. LTD. have ATCs with a capacity of 120 tools. With technology from Methods, this capacity can be doubled. In as little as a day and a half, Methods’ can upgrade that capacity to 240 tools. Similarly, CNC machines from OKK Corp. can be outfitted with another tool rack, raising the tool capacity from 60 to 120 tools.
“Expandable ATCs are versatile options that allow you to scale your machining capability as your shop grows,” Otto explained. “You don’t have to pay for anything you don’t need upfront, and when the extra work comes, you can double your tool capacity almost overnight.”
Read more: Benefits of horizontal CNC machining