Vertical Machining Centers (VMCs)

CNC vertical machining centers (VMCs) remain machine shop staples. These milling machines have vertically oriented spindles that approach workpieces mounted on their table from above and commonly perform 2.5- or 3-axis machining operations. They are less costly than horizontal machining centers (HMCs), which makes them attractive to small job shops as well as larger machining operations. In addition, the performance of these machines has increased over the years, leveraging technologies such as high-speed spindles and advanced CNC capabilities (including conversational control programming). Ancillary equipment is also available to increase the flexibility and capability of these machines, including spindle speeders, angle heads, tool- and part-probes, quick-change workholding devices, and rotary indexers to enable four- or five-axis machining work.
mountain in glass
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Making Mountains out of Mold Steel—Literally

When graphite molds wouldn’t cut it for a manufacturer of hand-blown drinking glasses, this shop machined more durable stainless steel molds to create the famous mountainous shapes that emerge from the bottom of its customer’s nifty drinkware.

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Additive Manufacturing Belongs in a Machine Shop

A fourth-generation family machine shop integrates metal additive manufacturing as another production operation.
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Machining Centers for Small-Lot, High-Mix/Low-Volume Applications

Westec 2017: Southwestern Industries’ Trak machines are said to increase productivity in shops that engage in small-lot or high-mix/low-volume work.




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