Kingsbury has more than 50 years of experience in the supply, installation and set-up of high quality, precision lathes from the most respected continental manufacturers.
CNC Turning Machines and Lathes
CNC turning lathes have remained relatively unchanged for over a hundred years. A work piece spins in a chuck and a stationary tool is then brought into contact with this material to create a cylindrical part. The swiss screw lathe used cams instead of computer control to manufacture highly precise watch parts in the 1800 ‘s. Since then, CNC capabilities and additional axes have been added to lathes to increase their functionality. A CNC lathe can dramatically increase the productivity and profitability of a machine shop.
Types of CNC lathes
The most common styles of lathes are listed below:
Turret Lathe – A turret lathe is a machine that has all of its tools located in an indexable turret, these turret can hold multiple tools that are then swung into position when required.
Turning Centres – Turning centres come in both vertical and horizontal configurations. Vertical machines allow for the turning of large heavy parts whereas horizontal machines are best suited to smaller high production components.
Sliding Stock Lathes – Also known as swiss lathes, these machines are extremely advanced and are best suited to creating small repetitive parts with very high precision. These lathes often have fixed tools and live tools that allow for unmatched cycle times.
Turn Mills – Turn mills are a hybrid between milling machines and turret lathes. A turn mill has all the features of a typical turret lathe with the added benefit of live tooling and an additional axis.
Like CNC mills, CNC lathes can come in various configurations, these configurations are best expressed in terms of their axes of movement. These axes are described in detail below:
2 Axis – A typical lathe has only two axes, the x and z axes. The z axis is along the axis of the stock and the x axis is perpendicular to the axis of the stock.
4 Axis – A mill turn is a type of lathe and mill hybrid. These machines have the usual 2 axes of a standard lathe with additional Y and C axes. The C axis refers to the primary spindle which can be switched over to servo control and can be positioned accurately for a live tool that then moves along the Y axis to mill various slots and flat sections on the part.
Multi Axis – An automatic sliding stock lathe can have as many as 9 axes, sometimes more. This large number of axes is due to multiple tool posts, secondary spindles and bar feeders which can each move in various directions. These machines are highly advanced and can create parts at incredible speeds and accuracies.
Advantages of CNC lathes
Some universal advantages of a CNC lathe are listed below:
Speed – A CNC lathe can manufacture components at a very high rate, this is especially true for sliding stock lathes which can engage the stock with multiple tools at once. Some lathes even have multiple primary spindles that can engage up to six stock pieces with multiple tools. Not even the most advanced CNC mills can match the speed with which a sliding stock lathe can churn out parts.
Versatility – CNC lathes can come in multiple different configurations that can match any requirement from pure OD and ID turning to combinations of turning, off- axis drilling and even milling all in one machine. This results in the capability to run ‘done-in-one’ operations with ease.
Efficiency – A CNC lathe can operate non stop due to automatic material loading bar feeders. This means that the operator only needs to make sure the machine is continuously fed with material, and it will continue to machine parts.
Which CNC lathe is right for you?
If your company focuses primarily on the manufacture of cylindrical components, then a turning lathe is the best machine for you. As there is a vast range of lathes available, choosing the correct one that best suits your application can be a relatively daunting task. Kingsbury offers a wide range of lathes that can fit any application. Follow the link to view the various lathes on offer.
“We installed our first Traubs a decade ago and have been consistently impressed with the quality of build and high power of the spindles and live tooling as well as their reliability and productivity.”
– Janet Vincent, Managing Director
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