Metal Cutting

Horizontal Machining Centers (HMCs)
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A horizontal machining center (HMC) is a machining center with its spindle in a horizontal orientation. This machining center design favors uninterrupted production work. One reason for this is that the horizontal orientation encourages chips to fall away, so they don’t have to be cleared from the table. More significantly, the horizontal design allows a two-pallet workchanger to be incorporated into a space-efficient machine. To save time, work can be loaded on one pallet of an horizontal machining center while machining occurs on the other pallet.

Featured Zone Content

The Costs and Benefits of Horizontal Machining


The shift from vertical to horizontal machining was even more expensive than this shop anticipated. It was also more valuable. Most of the shop’s machining centers are HMCs now—here’s why.

Adopting a 24/7 Mindset


This shop considered a number of factors before establishing an effective process to run an HMC cell around the clock for applications in aerospace, oilfield and other industries.

A Production Line Takes Shape


Although Pointe Precision built its reputation on low-volume, high-complexity aerospace and medical parts, its expansive high-volume production line may be its biggest success to date. Sound decision-making and attention to details at every step are the keys to this success.



Pallet System Software Boosts Cell Flexibility

By: Mark Albert
The software running this shop’s newest FMS from Fastems adds a layer of automation that enhances the inherent flexibility, productivity and effectiveness of lights-out operation. Dynamic job scheduling is the key.

People are Part of the Process for Machining Inconel

By: Peter Zelinski
A Tacoma shop describes its winning strategy for efficient machining of Inconel. That strategy includes careful choices of cutting tools and cutting parameters. It also includes a healthy breakfast.

Automated Five-Axis Cell Streamlines Production

By: Edited by Emily Probst
Abipa Canada made its move into automation leveraging a fixture plate distribution system and an HMC, minimizing setup time and lowering part production costs.

SW North America BA 322 HMC

Twin-Spindle HMC Precisely Machines Small, Medium Workpieces

By: Edited by Jedd Cole
The BA 322 from SW North America is a compact, twin-spindle HMC designed for four- or five-axis machining of small- to medium-size steel, cast iron and light metal workpieces such as brake calipers, hydraulic valves and turbocharger components, including compressor wheels.

Secrets to the Art of Hand Scraping

Secrets to the Art of Hand Scraping

By: Mark Albert
Hand scraping of mating surfaces on a machine tool enables the surfaces to be flatter, more accurately aligned, longer wearing and freer to glide across one another. No automated or mechanical operation can match these benefits. Machine builder Okuma explains how this seeming paradox is true.


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