1) What applications benefit from large horizontal machining? The VHP160 XP machine design is a radical departure from any other current design. Its “fully closed, force-loop construction” was developed specifically for machining monolithic aerospace components. This was only achieved after more than six years of working closely with several large manufacturers of these types of parts.

2) How does this large machine maintain accuracy? Maintaining accuracy on a machine this size starts with the initial design. The thermally symmetrical construction of the base, table, and column that houses the machine spindle helps to ensure consistent, high-accuracy machining throughout extended operation. In addition, ball-screw core cooling of the X-, Y- and Z-axis, a headstock cooling system, and X-axis scale feedback are all standard features.

3) What are the advantages to horizontal indexing? Being able to load and unload the parts with the table in the horizontal position allows gravity to work in our favor and reduce the time required for this operation. In many cases, part location and fixturing are simpler. However, for actual machining, chip and coolant control are far better when the part is in a vertical plane. With the part in this attitude and the use of the available high-volume coolant, chips are flushed out of the workpiece as they are produced, ensuring a better part finish.

4) How much customization is possible? For the U.S. market, this machine is offered in two basic models – the VHP160 with a 120hp spindle and 1,250mm x 4,000mm table, and the VHP160 XP which comes with a 160hp spindle and 1,400mm x 4,000mm table. Either machine is available with a single-table or with a two-table changer and 60 to 120 tools (or more with customization). They may be configured into multiple machine cells incorporating a table transporter vehicle, table stockers that allow tables to be stored either vertically or horizontally, and multiple load/unload stations, linked to a central cell control unit.

5) What should a shop consider before committing to such a large machine? Purchasing this type of machine is a big commitment. Since the design of the machine is for a very specific family of parts, it is not to be confused with the typical large-envelope, job-shop machine. Parts produced on this machine must meet the highest standards for quality control and surface finish. A potential customer needs to ensure space is available for the machine and material, tooling, and balancing equipment capable of supporting the 30,000rpm spindle – and most importantly, the ability to secure the contracts to keep work on the machine.