What Is Meant By VMC Milling?

Posted on Sep 16, 2020

What is meant by VMC Milling?

Unlike horizontal machining center (HMC) machining, CNC machines with vertical machining centers (VMC) have vertically oriented spindles. VMC mills are typically table-mounted and perform standard 2.5 or 3-axis machining operations. VMCs are useful for creating parts, dies or molds with precision, accuracy, repeatability and surface finish.

The term "machining center" almost always describes Computer Numerical Control (CNC) milling machines and drills that have an automatic tool changer and table clamping the workpiece in one location. CNC machining is a process used in the manufacturing sector, it involves the use of computers to control machine tools.


What is the difference between CNC and VMC?

There is no difference between the two machines. VMC is a machine with a CNC (Computer Numerical Control) controller. As mentioned, the cutting head in this milling machine is vertical and is a particular type of milling machine where the spindle runs in a vertical axis known as the “z” axis. They are typically enclosed and most often used for cutting metal.


Vertical machining center (VMC) with a 4th axis

Most VMC machines have three axes, the x, y, and z axis. The axis is the number of motors that can be individually driven to control tool position. The X axis is usually left to right, the Y axis is front to back, and the Z axis is up and down. In the standard 3-axis VMC, the cutter remains vertical. In VMC, we can add a fourth or even a fifth axis to increase the benefits of VMC.

If a fourth axis is added in VMC, then the cutter can rotate around the X axis, which allows the VMC to drill holes in the front and back of the product. Hence, VMCs with an additional rotary axis are 4-axis machines. There is also a fifth axis which increases the complexity of the VMC.


Benefits of machining with vertical machining center

Horizontal Machining Centers (HMCs) are usually equipped with a fourth axis compared to vertical machining centers (VMC) where the third axis is still considered the staple machine in mechanical workshops. It is also possible to stick the tombstone on the 4th axis, making it easier to change pallets as well as adding coolant through the spindle. There are several machining advantages that standard VMCs and VMCs with 4th axis offer, such as:

:: Read more : Horizontal Machining Centers (HMCs) – price, costs and other considerations


Compared to HMC, VMC

It offers the operator access to the machine chamber, allowing easy observation of the processing conditions - which is an option on most HMCs

Easier configuration, management and functionality

Widely used in the market, give it a simple flaw,

More versatile in comparison and offers relatively simple CNC program control

The most economical and effective method of treating metal and / or other substances

VMCs are simple to use compared to the HMC and easier to set up and manage.

The VMC debugger is easier, therefore it is widely used in the market.

The VMC is more versatile compared to its horizontal counterparts and has relatively simple CNC controls to program.

VMC is the most economical and effective way to process metal and other substances.

The primary benefit of working with VMC is that gravity works with you

In metalworking, a jet of water has to be poured on the spindle and again - gravity helps to achieve the goal when using a vertical machining center.

VMC is the most suitable option for machining plate, shell and plate parts.

The current economic conditions are prompting many owners of precision rolling machines to reassess their operations. With cost cutting in mind, they are looking for more opportunities to carry out some primary or secondary operations on site. Often a vertical CNC machining center(VMC) is the best solution, especially when teamed with the right CNC rotary product. But there are many machines and options—and manufacturers—out there, so selecting the right VMC and rotary for your shop can get tricky!

If your store is like most, the ideal VMC lies somewhere between a compact 3-axle machine that can be rolled through a standard office door, and a large, semi-trailer-sized 5-axle job. VMC prices are in a similar range. But the pain of investing in a high-tech chip manufacturer doesn't necessarily mean getting a root canal. With a little patience, rational thinking and steady nerves, you can choose the right one for your store - and your wallet!

Logically, the first thing to do when buying is to consider what you really need. Ask yourself what the VMC will have to do - consider your production targets, types of operations and materials you will be cutting. The VMC should have the correct spindle speed, rapids, axis travels, and table size for your process. And it's always good idea to keep future plans in mind.

Accuracy is a great example. The latest high-tech precision machines can maintain extremely tight tolerances - but extreme precision often comes at enormous costs. Some store owners, especially first-time CNC buyers, needlessly inflate their machine specifications, spending too much money on precision far greater than their job has ever required. Others "buy cheap" just to make their machine lose its accuracy and repeatability quickly. Both examples are profitable, which is the true purpose of any investment. Do your homework and avoid unnecessary expenses!

Do you need a rotary device? The basic VMC machine is a 3-axis machine in which the part is attached to the table allowing three-dimensional cutting from one side. The addition of a 4th or 5th rotary axis to the VMC allows the part to be rotated for machining on a different side or angle without having to re-align - a common requirement for turned parts. We'll cover more information on rotary devices later.

:: Read more : VMC Machinery for production and efficiency


The Likely Prospect

Once you have mastered your needs, and hours of surfing the internet and chatting with colleagues seem to point to a machine going fundraising, your job is done, right? Wrong! The machine manufacturer is just as important as the specification. Do they enjoy a reputation for high-quality machines and fast service? Do they offer a full line of products including VMC, HMC, CNC lathes and rotary products? Do they support previous models? If a company doesn't support its older models, chances are high that they won't support your model in the future.

Look for a machine tool builder with a dealer network that provides local sales, applications and service support, with fully stocked service vehicles and efficient, factory trained technicians. They should offer installation and training, and offer fair pricing and financing upfront. Most sellers can arrange a cutting demonstration - ask for a sample of the same material that you will process in your store.


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