Anyone who wants to implement high-precision machining processes economically, efficiently and quickly today can hardly avoid using high-performance CNC lathes. However, not every lathe is suitable for all tasks. In the following you will learn how to find the optimal CNC solution for your needs.
HOW IS A CNC LATHE CONSTRUCTED?
CNC stands for Computerized Numerical Control. Lathes that have this type of control are suitable for precise automatic machining of even complex work pieces.
A CNC lathe has one or more tool turrets that hold tools such as turning tools, drills or milling cutters. There is space for the work piece to be machined in the lathe chuck (or chuck). During machining, the work piece and the chuck rotate around the axis of rotation of the main spindle.
The special advantages of CNC lathes:
- Largely automated processes without great control effort
- Programmable rotation axis (s)
- Short set-up times
- High cutting performance
- Faster work piece processing
- Consistently high manufacturing quality
- Would you like to find out more about variants of CNC lathes and their different options?
HOW IMPORTANT IS THE PRECISION FACTOR FOR YOUR APPLICATION?
A solid foundation and the rigidity of components such as the machine frame, the guide systems and the spindles are decisive for the degree of precision of a CNC lathe machining.
a) Machine stand
However, welded steel frames filled with concrete or polymer concrete are still clearly superior to these in terms of thermal expansion, warpage and susceptibility to vibrations.
Many CNC lathes today use cast iron columns – a stable and inexpensive solution, which, however, limits the flexibility of the machine manufacturer.
Machine frames made of cast mineral are the most resistant to thermal deformation and offer the best vibration behavior of all variants.
b) Management systems
The linear guides of the axes and the associated ball screw drives also influence the precision of the lathe. Linear guides are available in quality classes 0 (best), 1 and 2. With the ball screw drives, ground variants offer significant performance advantages.
In addition to conventional spindles with tool / workpiece holder and separate asynchronous motor, motor spindles with integrated direct drive and motor are also available. The latter are dynamically stiffer and have a lower tendency to vibrate.
You can find more important factors in the article: ” CNC turning – from conventional to CNC production
HOW FLEXIBLE DOES YOUR CNC LATHE HAVE TO BE?
Before you decide on a CNC lathe, you should first clarify which parts you want to manufacture with it. The following factors play a role:
- Size, weight and material of the workpieces to be machined
- Number of components to be produced per year
- Complexity of the components to be manufactured
The complexity of the components not only influences the required machine design and axis movements, but also cutting speeds and workpiece clamping.
ARE YOU EQUIPPED FOR HIGH CUTTING PERFORMANCE?
CNC lathes are usually characterized by a high cutting performance. The corresponding environmental conditions must also be right for this. This starts with the layout of the production hall and the creation of sufficient storage capacity for raw and finished parts. And last but not least: What do you do with the chips? Does the company already have a process for environmentally friendly and clean disposal?
HOW DOES THE CNC LATHE INCREASE YOUR PRODUCTIVITY?
A high-quality lathe ensures the long-term competitiveness of your company and thus represents a valuable investment in the future.
In CNC lathe machining center, however, speed is not everything: the traverse paths of the axes are often so short that factors such as acceleration and rapid braking play a more important role in productivity.
CONCLUSION: THE APPLICATION DETERMINES THE NEED
Which CNC lathe is the right one for your specific needs depends on many factors: As soon as you want to use it to produce large numbers of different products, you have to find the optimal compromise among various possible solutions – and it’s not just about the machine itself , but also about choosing the right tools and the right peripherals.