Horizontal V. Vertical CNC Maching Centers: Best Value and Utility?
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    Default Horizontal V. Vertical CNC Maching Centers: Best Value and Utility?

    Hey gang, I know it's kind of a general question, but I did search the forum a bit before posting this, so bear with me.

    I'm looking at used VMCs from a couple of different brokers, and one guy happened to say: "Hey, would you be interested in a Horizontal instead? It's got more HP, more RPM, twice the tool pockets, 50 Taper, and it comes with 3 pallets and a pallet changer."

    So of course I say: "How much?"

    I kind of blinked at his answer: for a machine from a similar year and manufacturer quality to what I was looking at, the horizontal was only a couple of bucks more than the VMC, which, on paper, looks like about half as much machine.

    So I got suspicious, figured this was a lemon, and looked around to see if the price was ridiculous. It wasn't - this seemed to be the case across the board.

    So I've got to ask all the much better informed than me PM members: what's the deal with horizontal machining centers that makes them so much cheaper on the used market than verticals? Are guys just not used to them? Are they a nightmare to run? Because 60 tools, 50 HP, 50 Taper with a pallet changer sounds like a dream...on paper. Right?

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    Horizontals are typically used in higher production applications and for a given age of machine have far more run hours and associated wear and tear than a similar year vertical.

    A horizontal with pallet changer will have about twice as many moving parts, sensors, cylinders etc. as a non-pallet equipped vertical so maintenance costs and downtime with an older machine is often higher than the vertical.

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    More floor space for the horizontal too, sometimes that is an issue.
    Some brands had a couple of generations of horizontals that can be an issue (I hate to say it, but it was Haas - just in case that's what was offered).

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    The cost and time of tearing down, moving and setting up a 40,000 lb horizontal with a pallet changer , tool changer, spindle chiller, coolant tank, TSC pumps etc, especially an older one used in a shop, packed with chips, oil crap etc, is not for the faint of heart. When you set everything back up, all prox switches, tool changer, pallet changer etc all have to be happy again. Not to mention the drives and all the other fragile connections that just got bounced across the highway for some odd miles. If you decide to go this route I cannot stress enough how important it is to thoroughly inspect, run, check for lost motion, download parameters,run some of your parts on the machine if possible etc,etc, etc, you just cant do enough to cover all your bases.I learned the hard way,its a long story.

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    Quote Originally Posted by eaglemike View Post
    Some brands had a couple of generations of horizontals that can be an issue (I hate to say it, but it was Haas - just in case that's what was offered).
    I actually used to work in a shop that had a Haas horizontal - it wasn't a great machine.

    I'm not a Haas basher, but I also think they're way overvalued in the used market because of how accessible/familiar they are.

    The first horizontal the guy pointed me towards is a Doosan, but now that my eyes are open to the market, there's a lot of stuff out there in the same price range.

    Just found a freaking 03 Matsuura H.Plus-630 4-axis with a 240(!?) ATC for less money than what a similar work-envelope, similar year Haas VMC goes for. The Matsuura has more RPM, more HP, etc., etc....it's enough to make me think anyway.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cpifer3 View Post
    The cost and time of tearing down, moving and setting up a 40,000 lb horizontal with a pallet changer , tool changer, spindle chiller, coolant tank, TSC pumps etc, especially an older one used in a shop, packed with chips, oil crap etc, is not for the faint of heart. When you set everything back up, all prox switches, tool changer, pallet changer etc all have to be happy again. Not to mention the drives and all the other fragile connections that just got bounced across the highway for some odd miles. If you decide to go this route I cannot stress enough how important it is to thoroughly inspect, run, check for lost motion, download parameters,run some of your parts on the machine if possible etc,etc, etc, you just cant do enough to cover all your bases.I learned the hard way,its a long story.
    I was kind of thinking this to myself as I looked at the size of a 240 ATC, and saw the weight of the machine - 21 tons.

    The only saving grace is that I'm a full-time custom automation guy, so that process is a big part of what I do all the time. I think it's going to be a huge consideration though, you're right about that.

    Thanks!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vancbiker View Post
    A horizontal with pallet changer will have about twice as many moving parts, sensors, cylinders etc. as a non-pallet equipped vertical so maintenance costs and downtime with an older machine is often higher than the vertical.
    A shop I work with runs big volume on HMCs with pallet pools. Last year they sold 3 5 year old machines that had 40,000 hours each of spindle on time. That's nearly 24/7 operation.

    And the paint still looked like new. A couple had had serious crashes, spindles replaced, etc. They were replacing with new because maintenance costs were getting high.

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    Horizontals need usually more fixtures, tomb stones, angle blocks, etc
    .
    often no need to blow out holes before tapping, depends on material.
    .
    rotary table can be useful for angles.
    .
    pallet loading as picture shows mdi commands cannot be stopped short of estop. can press feed hold all you want and does nothing.
    .
    roof spray of coolant like fire hose sprays chips to bottom auger so often less chip problems.
    .
    i use for low volumes often make parts in lots of 2 at a time. if you got pallet setup station so you can setup fixture while another pallet in machine running program it is more efficient. setup pallets go in storage racks. 23 year old machines. about once a day the pallets going in racks need a wiggle by hand to get locking pin to register locked so robot will back away. maintenance issues are more only cause more to system so more that can go wrong
    .
    wouldnt surprise me pallet loading system and storage racks cost as much as the horizontal cnc. a 1 meter square pallet wouldnt surprise me if $10,000 each so having 50 pallets can cost
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails warpageremoving.jpg   palletcrash.jpg   setupstation.jpg  

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mud View Post
    A shop I work with runs big volume on HMCs with pallet pools. Last year they sold 3 5 year old machines that had 40,000 hours each of spindle on time. That's nearly 24/7 operation.

    And the paint still looked like new. A couple had had serious crashes, spindles replaced, etc. They were replacing with new because maintenance costs were getting high.
    This ^ happens. I bought a ~6 year old 10 pallet Okuma MC50H horizontal for IIRC, $20k. The way oil line running through the flex track to the Z axis had broken causing the Turcite on the Z and X axes to fail. The seller knew it and was just wanting to get rid of it and we only wanted it for the 10 pallets and parts to keep the 5 other MC50H and MC60H machines we had running.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vancbiker View Post
    This ^ happens. I bought a ~6 year old 10 pallet Okuma MC50H horizontal for IIRC, $20k. The way oil line running through the flex track to the Z axis had broken causing the Turcite on the Z and X axes to fail. The seller knew it and was just wanting to get rid of it and we only wanted it for the 10 pallets and parts to keep the 5 other MC50H and MC60H machines we had running.
    .
    .
    i use 3 horizontals and the 23 year old rougher has worn turcite. like circular milling bore i expect it to be out of round .005"
    .
    my finisher horizontal cnc only used for finishing (light cuts) after 23 years it has some turcite wear and rotary table problems. holding .0003" tolerances is a daily struggle. its the reason my company is spending $2,000,000 for a new horizontal cnc finisher
    .
    i would ask what type of machining was done on the machine. high hp roughing is tough on any machine

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    I am a huge fan of Mazak horizontals. I run small quantities of parts 5-200 mostly.

    The problem is that if you buy one for $80,000 used and it was $300,000 new the parts are still for a $300,000 machine. The cost of repair and maintenance is easily 3x what a vertical will be. A spindle rebuild can easily be $20,000+ and ball screws $6,000 plus. I wouldn't trade my Mazak PFH-4800 for anything though. I paid about $150,000 for it when it was 4 years old. I love the thing but I have spent over $40,000 on repairs and upgrades in the last 7 years and plan to spend another $10,000 this year. I try to keep it at near new accuracies.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Techguy View Post
    I am a huge fan of Mazak horizontals. I run small quantities of parts 5-200 mostly.

    The problem is that if you buy one for $80,000 used and it was $300,000 new the parts are still for a $300,000 machine. The cost of repair and maintenance is easily 3x what a vertical will be. A spindle rebuild can easily be $20,000+ and ball screws $6,000 plus. I wouldn't trade my Mazak PFH-4800 for anything though. I paid about $150,000 for it when it was 4 years old. I love the thing but I have spent over $40,000 on repairs and upgrades in the last 7 years and plan to spend another $10,000 this year. I try to keep it at near new accuracies.
    .
    i got Toyoda CNC's Bn25a and FH100's and they got electronic chip in tool holder to auto read tool data from offline parlec tool setter through computer network.
    .
    the chip is glued in shallow flat bottom hole in tool holder. they dont make the chips anymore. any new tool holder got to tell cnc what tool holder (serial number) it has in pocket. so electronic parts are the hardest to get as often no longer made short of ordering 1000 specially made at $100 each. electronic stuff not unusual to spend $10,000 just to setup to make a electronic part thats in addition to charge for each part made. sure each part is cheap if you have 10,000 made but who is going to do that

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    Quote Originally Posted by Techguy View Post
    The problem is that if you buy one for $80,000 used and it was $300,000 new the parts are still for a $300,000 machine.
    I've met a lot of really smart people who just cannot understand this. They think that because a machine has depreciated to a price they can afford, that parts and service should also have depreciated. It just doesn't work that way.

    Actually, parts costs often increase due to lower and lower volume as the machines age. Service costs can also increase as it get harder to find anyone with experience on older machines. There will be less documentation and it's harder to get answers when things don't work.

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    Yea those older Masuuras are great, but what control is on it? That's where you can really take it in the shorts.
    Gary
    Quote Originally Posted by Johnny SolidWorks View Post
    I actually used to work in a shop that had a Haas horizontal - it wasn't a great machine.

    I'm not a Haas basher, but I also think they're way overvalued in the used market because of how accessible/familiar they are.

    The first horizontal the guy pointed me towards is a Doosan, but now that my eyes are open to the market, there's a lot of stuff out there in the same price range.

    Just found a freaking 03 Matsuura H.Plus-630 4-axis with a 240(!?) ATC for less money than what a similar work-envelope, similar year Haas VMC goes for. The Matsuura has more RPM, more HP, etc., etc....it's enough to make me think anyway.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ewlsey View Post
    I've met a lot of really smart people who just cannot understand this. They think that because a machine has depreciated to a price they can afford, that parts and service should also have depreciated. It just doesn't work that way.

    Actually, parts costs often increase due to lower and lower volume as the machines age. Service costs can also increase as it get harder to find anyone with experience on older machines. There will be less documentation and it's harder to get answers when things don't work.
    .
    .
    i agree. spare parts are much more expensive as often they are no longer made. supply and demand. computer boards with "problem" have been known to shut down a cnc every week running a program or even not doing anything. some computer board "repairs" at $150/hr and even spending $1500. or more for repair they are often no way to test short of putting in a cnc and running it. and often the repaired board was not fixed. like mechanic changing car battery on car when dead battery was caused by a wire shorting out. often wrong item is replaced and problem not fixed
    ..... machine manuals often over 2000 pages are a basic requirement. i remember a really simple cnc with only 40 page manual cause i did not have the manual i could not even get into jog mode. had to press axis like X and hold in for 3 seconds to put in jog mode. a lot of old machines you got to press 2 or 3 buttons in at the same time. like a combination safe you do not know combination you can be trying easily 10 years and never get working. adjusting machine parameters you need a good tech guy. literally can have average mechanic try to repair a week and not fix and then right tech guy can have machine working in a hour, i have seen that many times

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    Seems to me that low scrap prices and a strong economy have put older horizontals at very low or even negative value.

    I recently added a small H300 Kitamura HMC because it was free. I got it dead and rigged it out for Fanuc spares for my other 80's machines. Turned out it was just a prox switch that died. Then the paperwork I got with the machine showed a decent fortune was spent on it a decade ago in new ways, spindle, way covers and control parts. I decided to keep it and have been at the shallow end of the pool so far. Designing fixtures and tooling up the machine.

    I didn't have room for big machine. The H300 is 14K lbs and smaller than the average 4020 VMC's footprint.

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