Horizontal machining centers (HMCs) are versatile four-axis and, increasingly, five-axis machine platforms that maximize processing of multi-sided large parts by minimizing part handling. They’re used in industries as diverse as aerospace, automotive, power generation and general engineering.
With their near-universal production capacities, HMCs offer many choices to manufacturers, making them less susceptible to the cyclical ebb and flow of any one industry, such as oil and gas. HMCs are readily automated. They are typically equipped with twin pallets for tombstone-mounted parts, a single workpiece, or they can be automated with pallet pools of six or more pallets. For unattended lights-out production, linear flexible manufacturing systems (fed by stockers and tended by rail-guided, overhead gantry robots, or pedestal-mounted six-axis robots) are available. Single large workpieces range from engine blocks to oil field drill bits, pump housings and manifolds, and families of tombstone-mounted components.