January 24, 2017 by erikamcpherson

4 Reasons to Buy Either a Horizontal or Vertical Machining Center

CNC machining centers are the core workhorses of many shops. When used to their maximum potential, vertical and horizontal machining centers fill very different roles.  So, what are some reasons that a shop would choose either a horizontal or vertical machining center?

4 Reasons to Buy a Vertical Machining Center:

  1. Simplicity

At its core, a VMC is essentially a CNC mill with an automatic tool changer.  Programming is straightforward, and machinists will likely be able to learn a new machine quickly.

  1. Faster Setups Are Great for Short Runs

Along with ease of programming, the simplicity of a VMC makes setups quick and easy. Fast set-ups allow shops to bid competitively on short runs, one-offs, and prototype work.

  1. Plate Work

Large plates fit easily on the flat table of a vertical machining center. In contrast, clamping large plates to a tombstone on a horizontal machining center would be nearly impossible.

  1. Low Initial Cost

VMCs of different sizes, brands, and capabilities carry a wide range of price tags. In general, a new VMC will cost the buyer about one-third of what they could expect to spend on a similar horizontal machine.  Add options such as a 4th axis and a chip conveyor system, and most shops could still install at least two VMCs for less than the cost of a single HMC.




4 Reasons to Buy a Horizontal Machining Center:

  1. Increased Productivity

Remember how we said that you could buy two to three VMCs for the cost of one HMC?  The flip side is that one HMC can likely produce more than all three VMCs combined. Tombstones can hold multiple parts on each side, and different sides can be used to machine different parts in the same setup.  Pallet changers allow operators to load or unload one tombstone while another is in the machine, maximizing spindle utilization.

  1. Decreased Labor Costs

Since multiple parts and even part families can be machined in one setup, a single attendant can run two HMCs and possibly still have time to do other toolroom work during cycles.

  1. Bid Competitively On Long Runs

The increased productivity, shorter cycle time, and lower labor costs associated with HMCs allow shops using this technology to offer lower per-part prices on long runs vs. shops relying on VMCs.

  1. Take Your Shop to the next level

Simultaneous three-sided machining combined with 4th and 5th axis capabilities can separate your shop from the competition and allow you to reach a different level of customer.  Shops with HMCs can place competitive bids on parts that require advanced precision contouring, including jobs for defense and medical applications.

Browse Our Selection of Haas CNC Machines

Machine Tool Bids carries a variety of fully functional used vertical machining centers and horizontal machining centers from the best manufacturers. View our current inventory.

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At MTB, we want to be your one-stop shop for CNC machines. If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to call us at  312-604-1850, or send us an email or online chat on our contact page. Looking for specific Haas models or any other CNC machines? Let us know about it!


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