There is no magic formula for discovering the optimum number of parts that can be placed on your fixture, though a few general rules apply. In essence, the optimum configuration point is a cross between the cycle time of a part and the number of parts per fixture. One must also consider that different jobs demand different part sizes that will require different work zone treatment.
Several manufacturers aren’t being as productive as possible because they aren’t using their horizontal’s work zone to its fullest potential, and thus are limiting their productivity. Manufacturers clamp parts low on the Y-axis and avoid the upper portion of the fixture (even though the fixture may be large enough to accommodate more parts) because some machines aren’t as capable higher in the Y-axis’ stroke. But think of what you could achieve if you used the entire workzone as effectively as you do the bottom half, allowing you to expand your fixtures and decrease scrap rates.
While some machines lose capability high in the Y-axis’ stroke, Makino manufactures its machines to be accurate and rigid throughout the full range of the Y-axis travel, no matter where the part is placed on the fixture. Manufacturers will achieve the same machining capability high on the Y-axis as they do near the surface of the pallet. With Makino machines, there is no need to waste valuable workzone space and limit manufacturing capabilities for fear of inaccurate parts.