Modern Machine Shop

DEC 2017

Modern Machine Shop is focused on all aspects of metalworking technology - Providing the new product technologies; process solutions; supplier listings; business management; networking; and event information that companies need to be competitive.

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80 MMS December 2017 FEATURE The 2018 projection for HMCs is 85 percent higher than the estimate for 2017. It is also almost $400 million higher than the next best year for HMCs since 2008. However, the projection for VMCs is up only 1 percent compared to 2017 figures, and while it would be the highest since 2008, it is only marginally higher than VMC spend- ing since 2014. These comparisons are significant because VMCs are used much more frequently than HMCs; they are arguably the most used type of machine tool in metalworking facilities. Modern Machine Shop's most recent Top Shops survey shows that nearly 82 percent of shops use a VMC, whereas just less than 50 percent use an HMC. Within the family of HMCs, the greatest increase in spending will be on the class of machines with a 400-800-mm pallet. The survey projects more than $1 billion (55 percent of all HMC spending) spent will be on these mid-sized machines. Of the remaining spending, the portion devoted to smaller HMCs will slightly exceed the por tion devoted to larger HMCs. JOB SHOP SPENDING In this year's survey, job shops say they plan to spend almost $800 million on HMCs in 2018. This amount is more than four times the spending on HMCs planned by manufacturing industries such as automotive or aerospace. Job shops are pre- cisely the type of metalworking facility that has the most to gain by using an HMC. A significant reason for any shop's preference for making an investment in an HMC is the scar- city of skilled labor. With fewer skilled people available to set up, run and tend machines, shops must develop automated processes to keep producing parts. HMCs are easier to run unattended, because an increased number of parts can be accessed on an indexing pallet with a multi-sided pedestal-type fixture. Tool magazines on HMCs typically hold a larger number of tools than those on VMCs, which also enables extended unattended opera- tion. For these two reasons, an HMC can produce a greater number of parts and a greater variety of parts without human intervention. So, shops are willing to spend more on an HMC, because it helps offset the cost of training personnel and takes of f some of the pressure to find people needed to run a less-automated process. Because many shops are new to HMCs, they struggle with deciding how large a machine to buy. HMCs generally are more expensive, and there is a temptation to avoid spending as much as might be needed on an adequate tool changer and the ample machining envelope necessary to get the most out of horizontal machining. For example, a shop might have a VMC with a 40-pocket toolchanger. Then it buys an HMC with a tool- changer that has 200 pockets. The increased tool capacity adds so much to the total cost that the This graph tracks machine tool spending since 1937. Spending in 2018 is expected to be up by 5 percent over 2017 spending. 2018 Machine Tool Consumption Projection = $7.503 Billion, Up 5% Real Machine Tool Consumption (billions of USD) — Real Consumption -- Avg. Real Consumption

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