Machine-based manufacturing is the process of removing layers of material from a workpiece with the use of machine tools to produce the desired product or part. It is divided into several categories: manual vs. CNC, three-axis vs. five-axis, and vertical vs. horizontal. Each process version has its own set of benefits and drawbacks, making it suited for various manufacturing applications. In this article, we are going to talk about Vertical Machining Centers.
What is a VMC Machine?
Vertical Machining Centers, also known as Vertical Milling Machines, create holes in flat parts. The VMC technology is favored when three-axis work is done on a single face, such as in-mold and die works.
Multiple adjustments are available on VMCs. For example, on the worktable, there are numerous angles of approach and rotating and other positioning devices. The incorporated computerized controls enable automation, repeatability, tool selection/change, and contour control. These new CNC machines raised the productivity of the “milling” machine to unprecedented heights, giving rise to the term VMC (Vertical Machining Center).
How many axis are in vmc machines?
Mainly VMC Machines have only three axis that move on x, y and z axises. On Standard VMCs the cutter stays in vertical directions. To increase the benefits of VMC additional axis can be added.
Types of VMC Machine
VMC machines are classified based on mainly four categories:
● Classification based on the Guide Rail: Hard Rail & Linear Rail
The VMC machine can be separated into the hard rail and linear rail based on the shape of each axis’ guide rail. The stiffness of the strong rail makes it appropriate for heavy cutting. The linear rail is a ball-bearing guide rail that moves rapidly and with greater sensitivity.
● Classification based on the Spindle Speed: Low Speed & High Speed
The low-speed type VMC machines’ spindle speed is 6000-15000rpm, whereas the high-speed type’s spindle speed is above 18000rpm. Surface polish and processing precision will improve high-speed and high-precision VMC machines.
● Classification based on the Bed Structure: C Type & Gantry Type
The VMC can be classified into two types based on its bed structure: C type and gantry type.
● Classification based on the Column Structure: Fixed column & fixed worktable
❖ Fixed-column VMC stands for vertical machining center with table movement. This type of vertical machining center accounts for over 75% of the market in terms of production and sales.
❖ A fixed worktable VMC is also known as a moving-column type VMC. This type of vertical machining center accounts for around 15% of the vertical machining center market in production and sales.
Vertical vs Horizontal Lathe Machines
Vertical Lathe Machines are huge ram type machines that are used for boring, cutting drilling, facing, turning of heavy duty and high power cutting of medium and large parts.
Horizontal Lathe Machines
Horizontal Lathe Machine: A horizontal lathe is mainly used for turning a rotating workpiece with a turning tool. Horizontal Lathes are just as similar as vertical lathes but the difference is it has a horizontal lathe in it. When using a vertical lathe, the machinist must work in an up-and-down motion. Both of the lathes are used for creation of similar products.
Applications of VMC Machining
Vertical machining centers may produce parts and products for various industries and uses. These are typically used for high-precision, high-accuracy, and mass-production applications, such as those that contain the following machined components:
Parts with a lot of curves. Complex curves are found in parts such as cams, impellers, and propellers. While traditional machining processes make it challenging to produce these parts with precision and accuracy, a multi-axis VMC equipped with CNC machine technology can do so fast and efficiently.
Parts that have an unusual shape. A bracket or a base is an example of a piece with an irregular form. VMCs with automatic machining capabilities enable the manufacture of these highly complicated components that are difficult to manufacture by traditional methods.
Parts from the military. Various standards govern how an item can be developed and manufactured in the military industry. VMCs’ accuracy and precision ensure that the machined components meet all application and industry requirements.
What are the uses of VMC machines?
VMC Machines are chiefly used to turn raw blocks of metal like aluminum, steel and other metal components. The most common industrial applications of these are cutting, drilling, shaping and molding of any kind. Industries using these processes are the automotive, shipbuilding, machine shops, machine manufacturing and other manufacturing industries.
Also Read: What is a CNC Machine and How Does it Work?