The Benefits of Vertical Turning
Traditionally used for the manufacture of valves, rings, and other large parts 30" in diameter or larger, a Vertical Turning Lathe (VTL) is a cost-effective solution for the manufacture of parts as small as 6" in diameter. The higher upfront cost of a VTL as compared to a horizontal lathe is often offset by substantial long-term savings: VTLs reduce cycle times and minimize floor space requirements while dramatically increasing tool life by working with gravity, not against it. Ideal for turning stainless steel, heavy cast materials, and other difficult to machine materials, VTLs are predominant in today's aerospace and aluminum wheel industries.
A key difference between vertical and horizontal turning is that vertical turning takes advantage of gravity to help load and seat parts. "Gravity loading" means that heavy parts rest upon the stops prior to clamping. Using gravity to assist with part loading eases work with hard-to-clamp, non-uniform shaped parts and reduces reliance upon custom toolholding. The same part requires less clamping pressure in a vertical lathe, improving accuracy in thin- walled parts especially.
Vertical turning also significantly reduces spindle sag and the need for over- engineered and costly-to-replace spindles. Cutting power is maximized due to absorbtion of downward cutting forces by the machine's base and foundation. The benefits of added spindle rigidity include capability to work with heavier parts and difficult-to-machine materials; higher accuracy; improved surface finish, and notable reductions in cutting tool wear and breakage.
A valve manufacturer from Connecticut decreased its insert usage by 40% since converting from horizontals to verticals, according to Pete Rouette, Manager of Morris Productivity Group at The Robert E. Morris Company. "The reduction in ongoing machine tool operational costs is dramatic and documented," says Rouette.
Vertical design also facilitates heavy part loading via overhead crane. Robotic arms have easy access to the center line of the spindle through front automatic opening doors that are typical of VTLs. It is not unusual to find large VTLs and robots working together in aerospace and energy component manufacturing installations.
Reduced floor space requirements are another real advantage of a VTL; it has a footprint about 50% smaller than that of a comparable capability horizontal lathe.
To learn more and find out if vertical turning technology can benefit your business, contact Morris South or your Account Manager.