How To Stay Safe When Operating A CNC Vertical Machining Center

November 21, 2019

CNC vertical machining centers are among the most versatile equipment used in manufacturing. These machines hold a piece of stock vertically, and use a variety of tools to remove material from the piece to achieve the required form. Vertical machining centers are used with a wide range of materials and for numerous products and applications, including dies, molds, industrial parts and components, automotive parts, housings and castings, and more.

Vertical Machining Center Hazards

CNC vertical machine operation can pose a number of dangers, so vertical CNC machine safety is a critical concern. Some vertical machining center dangers include:

  • Pulling clothing into the machinery — The moving parts in a vertical machining center move at a high rate of speed, and can pose a significant risk of serious injury to whatever comes into contact with them. If loose clothing makes contact with a moving part, the part will catch it and pull the wearer into the machinery, resulting in injury.
  • Flying debris or tools — If the proper guards are not in place on a machine, there is risk of a loose tool or piece of stock flying off and injuring the operator or someone else.
  • Repetitive stress injuries — Holding the same position throughout operation or repeating a motion, such as feeding stock into the machine, both pose a risk of ergonomic injuries, which can also fatigue the operator and further reduce safety.
  • Injuries during maintenance — If a machine is not properly shut down prior to maintenance tasks, operations may continue or resume, leading to injuries.

Vertical Machining Center Safety Tips

By following these vertical machining center safety tips, you will greatly reduce your risk of injury:

Don’t wear gloves — Gloves pose one of the greatest risks for catching on moving parts, especially on manual-feed machines. Gloves should never be worn while operating a CNC vertical machining center.

Tie back long hair and avoid loose clothing — Long hair and loose clothing can catch in machinery during operation. Ensure that long hair is tied back and be sure your clothing has no hanging or loose strings, threads or tears. Avoid jewelry as well.

Ensure operators are trained — Knowing how to use a vertical machining center properly is one of the most important steps in avoiding injury. Anyone who operates or maintains a machine must understand how it works and how to interact with it. Proper training also should include outlining the risks of the machine and how to avoid them.

Increase automated processes — With processes like CNC and automatic stock feed, there is less human interaction with the most dangerous parts of the machine. The safety benefits are well worth the investment in these areas.

Ensure proper shutdown during maintenance — For any maintenance event, no matter how small, the machine should be fully and completely shut down according the manufacturer’s directions. Cutting corners greatly increases the risk of inadvertent activation of the machine while personnel are at risk.

CNC Exchange sells used vertical machining centers and other CNC machinery, and we can provide or locate the machine you need. With extensive experience in the field, we also are ready to discuss safety best practices with you. For more information, contact CNC Exchange today.