Can you remember when machine tools were bought by pound of weight? The heavier a machine tool was, the more rigidity it had, so it could handle tighter tolerances. Buying a machine tool was much simpler in the 1950s.
Today, you can't afford to buy a vertical machining center (VMC) or any machine tool by the pound, because heavier VMCs don't necessarily provide tighter tolerances. And job shops require much more than tight tolerances. These issues include performance, productivity, ease of use, and lower cycle times.
No machine tool builder wants an unhappy customer; it's bad for business. So, every machine tool builder wants to make sure that its customers get the best VMC for their application. At Fadal Engineering, we have identified many issues that are critical to the successful selection of a VMC. Part of this process is looking for ways to improve our VMCs and part is to help customers get the right VMC model for their needs.
Major factors to consider are the materials to be machined, production volumes, controls, quality, machining operations, and service/maintenance. To get the most from your machine tool investment, you have to match your needs to the VMC's characteristics, features, and options. You have to start with a needs and usage analysis, so you can decide what's truly a necessity and what's not so important after all.