Have you ever heard of a chucker lathe?

Posted on Jul 30, 2020

Chucker Lathe

An automatic chuck lathe sometimes called simply a chuck lathe or an automatic lathe machine is similar to an automatic screw machine; both use spindles for production. The use of spindles that are able to drill, drill and cut the workpiece enables several functions on both machines simultaneously. The key difference between machines is that the automatic tool holder copes with larger works, which due to their size more often carry out gripping work, and less often bar work. The Fay automatic lathe was a variant specializing in turning work on centers.

While the screw machine is limited to approximately 80 millimeters (3.1 inches), automatic chucks are available that can handle up to 300 millimeters (12 inches). The handles are pneumatically operated. Many of these machines are multi-spindle (more than one main spindle).


Automatic chucks

Automatic chucks are a class of machine tools specializing in narrow industrial niches, such as OEM parts suppliers for the automotive industry. In their economic niches, they limit themselves to large-scale production of large parts, which only happens in relatively few companies (compared to smaller jobs that small businesses can do). The market for such machine tools generally does not include local workshop or tools and dies.

Cam-controlled chucks go down in history faster than most other classes of non-CNC machine tools. This is because the few companies that have them are forced to constantly adapt to the latest technical solutions (currently all CNC) to compete and survive. Cam-op chucks may be more susceptible to scrapping than other types of non-CNC machine tools. Unlike "South Bend's grandfather lathe" or "Dad's old Bridgeport knee mill", virtually no one can afford to maintain and use them for sentimental reasons alone. As with most non digital commercial typesetting machinery (such as Linotype machines).

Mechanical screw machines have to some extent been replaced by CNC lathes (turning centers) and CNC screw machines. However, they are still widely used, and in large-scale production of turned parts, it is often true that nothing is as profitable as a mechanical screw machine.

In the hierarchy of production machines, the screw is at the top when large quantities of product are needed. The engine lathe is at the bottom, which takes the least time, but the most qualified labor and time to produce parts. A turret lathe has traditionally been one step higher than a motor lathe, requiring a longer set-up time, but able to produce a larger volume of product and usually requiring a less qualified operator after the setting process. Screw machines may require extensive configuration, but after starting one operator can monitor the operation of several machines.

:: Read more : Power Chuck & Clamping Forces?


Automatic cam lathes to beat CNC during the cycle

The appearance of a CNC lathe (actually a CNC turning center) has blurred to some degree these various levels of production. The CNC turning center is best suited to the medium production range, replacing the turret lathe. However, it is often possible to produce a single element with a CNC turning center faster than possible using a motorized lathe. To some extent, the CNC turning center entered the region traditionally occupied by a (mechanical) screw machine. CNC screw machines do this even more, but they are expensive. In some cases they are necessary, but in others a mechanical machine can match or overcome overall performance and profitability. It is not unusual for automatic cam lathes to beat CNC during the cycle.

CNC offers many benefits, especially CAD / CAM integration, but CNC usually does not give any natural speed advantage in the context of the automatic lathe cycle in terms of speed and feed or tool change speed. There are many variables related to the answer to the question that is best for a specific part in a particular company. (Overheads are part of the calculation - especially because most cam-ops are long paid for, while late CNC models have large monthly payments). Camera-based companies are still competing, even in today's CNC-filled environment; they just need to be vigilant and clever to keep it that way.

In the multi-spindle segment, some machine tool builders also build hybrid machines that are partly CNC-controlled and partly old-school (some stations are numerically controlled, while others are controlled by a cam or run by simple hydraulic cycles). This allows stores with certain mixes of work to gain a competitive advantage from a lower cost compared to only CNC machines. The variety of machines that allow cost-effective production in some niches reflects the diversity of existing work: some large volume work remains the domain of camera-ops; full CNC control with all bells and whistles outweighs the competition in some flexible, low-cost jobs; and hybrid machines can give the lowest unit price between mixtures. Mechanical screw machines have to some extent been replaced by CNC lathes (turning centers) and CNC screw machines. However, they are still widely used, and in large-scale production of turned parts, it is often true that nothing is as profitable as a mechanical screw machine.

:: Read more : What are turning centers anyways??


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