For machined parts, setup time is a major component of the total time required to manufacture a machined part from a stock. If the number of setups and hence setup time can be reduced, this will not only decrease the manufacturing time, but will also ensure better machining accuracy, require fewer work-holding devices and increase machine usage time.
To achieve any improvement in setup time, first we need to estimate the setup time accurately. In this paper we propose a methodology to estimate the setup time for machining prismatic parts in a three axis vertical machining center. We concurrently consider three major factors for estimating the number of setups, namely — the precedence constraints among machining operations, the feasibility of work holding using vise clamping, and the availability of datum faces for locating the workpiece on the machine table during machining on a 3 axis vertical machining center.