A relatively cheaper Indexer, as well as fourth-axis rotary indexing table, has what it takes to improve vertical machining centers. In fact, it can be likened to possessing horizontal machining centers (HMC). Plant managers, as well as shop owners, only look forward to a time when the latest HMC will be theirs with all the features, advantages, and sophistication. The typical features of HMC are actually valuable, but what happens to be arguably its most valuable feature is the fact that it has the capability of machining on different sides of the workpiece. This is because it comes with either a full fourth axis or it is equipped with a built-in indexer.
Workpieces that are complex and need to be machined on surfaces which are neither 90°/180° from each other need indexing in order for the piece to be produced. Fourth axis rotation might also be needed. even when it comes to rectangular workpieces that have all of their surfaces 90°/180° from each other, the fourth-axis rotation of the HMC helps in productive advantage. This applies even in cases where it is not necessary to machine on up to two sides.
Whenever the run cycle can be increased, and more cutting can be done in a single operation without handling the workpiece, there will be an increase in productivity. This will also translate into an improvement in workpiece accuracy. Errors will always be introduced if you have to unclamp and refix a workpiece another for a cutting tool to access a different surface.
Horizontal machining centers are very expensive and the very incredible values going around today in VMCs mean that many shops will have no access to horizontals. The good thing, however, is that many suppliers who are known for their quality accessories give VMC shops the ability to fit their verticals with rotary systems indexers, a fourth-axis rotary indexing table, and tombstones. This setting yields a lot of advantages that you will get from an HMC for a lesser cost.
When you look at a rotary indexing table and an indexer from the early times, you realize that they never had the accuracy, control flexibility, as well as rigidity that we see in the models of today. A lot of shops that made an attempt to use rotary systems indexers eventually got faced with disappointment in how the older models performed. Eventually, they moved on to multiple workpiece handling, multiple operation, and multiple holdings. It was finally agreed that the multiple operation process happened to be a lot better instead of making use of the earlier indexers and rotary indexing table, which was ineffective. The situation happens to be different today. Units provided by manufacturers have a high level of accuracy. They are a lot more rigid and provide you with a wide range of options when it comes to control and interface.
What’s the best choice for you?
The work which has to be done will determine what indexer as well as the control system is best for you. Just as it is in a lot of cases, different designs usually have to make compromises in certain capabilities in order to have other capabilities. You need to build an in-depth understanding of these trade-offs in order to make the right choice. This is because a poor understanding of how the trade-offs work will eventually see you make the wrong choice. You might get to choose rotary systems or indexers that do not really fit your work requirements. Equip yourself with valuable knowledge on what’s available. Then, carry out a review to determine their different capabilities. Go on to analyze the pros and cons that come with each design. As soon as you have built your understanding of what the options are and what they have to offer, you are now in a better position to carry out evaluations with respect to what your work requirements are. The next step after these will be to carry out considerations and evaluations regarding prices. You need to ensure that you get the best price possible. Finally, evaluate the available suppliers and pick the one that matches your interest best.