Machining Centers & Milling Machines

Overcoming a VMC Limitation

Devised as a shopfloor solution, this material handling and loading system enables unattended operation for a VMC. 


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The vertical machining center is a workhorse in the metalworking industry. In its classic C-frame design, the machine can be found cranking out quality parts in shops around the world. The 20- by 40-inch table is probably the most common configuration, although the design is easily scalable up and down from that table size.

As the need for continuous production, involving unattended or lightly attended shifts, shops are coming up against an inherent weakness of the VMC design. Basically, the machine’s run time is determined by its table capacity.

The problem has been addressed using various loading and unloading schemes including, robots, table shuttles and even bar feeders. This article looks at a new solution to the capacity problem encountered on VMCs.

Versa-Built is a company that developed an in-house solution to the capacity problem on its shop floor and has developed that solution into a commercial product that is applicable in other shops running up against the same issue. Read about the combination pallet storage/robot system designed for supplying VMCs with an adequate supply of raw stock for continuous operations by visiting “Flexible Automation on a VMC.”