Vertical machining centers with advanced features and functions are earning their stripes as more productive members of machine shops’ CNC equipment arsenal. Today’s VMCs are challenging the notion that they have to be consigned to some seldom visited dark corner of the shop, or limited to secondary machining. VMCs have traditionally been lower priced compared with horizontal machining centers but without the production capability.
To some extent, the most recent additions of advanced technology have enabled VMCs to close the productivity gap and secure a competitive edge in high-speed, high-precision applications as diverse as aerospace, medical, energy and similarly demanding industries. The functionality of VMCs has been significantly increased with the addition of fourth- and fifth-axis table-on-table and trunnion configurations, multiple pallet changers, more tools, and high-speed spindles. VMCs are capable of machining the most complex workpieces, such as bladed rotors for jet engines, turbine blades for power generation, large aerospace components, and precision mold and die work.