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Multitask Machine or Mini Cell?

Depending on the application, this shop might use live-tool turning centers to machine parts complete or a reconfigurable “mini-cell” strategy to enable a single operator to tend two machines at once.

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Chris Guidotti, vice president of operations for East Branch Engineering, uses a pallet jack to maneuver the 2OP CNC milling machine from Southwestern Industries into position near one of the shops Brother VMCs.

East Branch Engineering often uses live-tool turning centers to complete complex parts in one setup. However, it also leverages a flexible and reconfigurable “mini-cell” strategy with a pair of portable CNC milling machines that can be easily transported next to any of the shop’s conventional VMCs or turning centers and then perform secondary operations, run dedicated, small-batch jobs or machine prototypes. That way, a single operator can tend two machines rather than standing idly by, waiting on just one machine to complete its operations, and the shop essentially gains “free” machining time by overlapping operations. Learn more.