When people think about the differences between horizontal mills vs. vertical mills the first thing anyone thinks about is price. And there is no denying it - the cost of buying an HMC is much higher than that of a VMC. But the purchase price only tells a small part of the story.
Horizontal mills are built for high volume. If your shop only does small batches VMCs might be the way to go. But if you have any interest in taking your shop to the next level with bigger projects and bigger contracts, an HMC might be something to consider. Additionally, many Horizontal Mills allow the integration of a two-pallet work-changer, making uninterrupted workflow easy and effective.
If you are producing complex parts, vertical machining centers often require more than one set-up. The skill-set needed to accomplish this quickly AND precisely is often more than is readily available on the job market.
Horizontals are often constructed using a rigid box way design. This heavy duty design structure increases rigidity and provides better damping which in turn reduces the wear and tear of vibration and deflection in both the production parts as well as the machine itself.
It really all comes down to profit. Always.
Yes, the purchase price for these machines is higher. But the increased efficiency means you get higher production for your labor costs. Increased sturdiness means you spend less on maintenance. And increased precision means you can take on a wider range of projects. Taken together horizontal mills allow you to quote at more competitive rates, get more jobs, and make more money.