What are turning centers anyways?

Posted on Jul 13, 2020

What are turning centers

Turning centers and specifically turning is a machining process that manufacturers use to create cylindrical parts in which the cutting tool moves in a linear manner as the workpiece rotates. Lathes are normally used for turning to reduce the diameter of the workpiece to the specified size and produce a smooth part finish. The CNC turning center is a lathe with computer numerical control (CNC). These advanced CNC turning centers can also perform various milling and drilling operations. This is a definition from Mazak and is widely considered the essence of turning.

Benefits of Turning Centers

●      Turning and milling spindles with high torque and speed ensure fast, accurate and aggressive metal removal

●      Second spindles offer rear finishing or sequential part processing

●      Rotary tool spindles ensure milling, drilling and tapping performance in the machining center

●      Double spindle and double turret configurations provide innovative parts machining options

●      Full-circumference headstock brakes design

●      The Y axis function offers a larger machining range for part geometry

●      Strong, built-in NC-controlled tailstock allow for automated processes

●      Hybrid roller guides provide durability and reliability for long-term accuracy

●      Optional deep hole drilling in boring bars ensures extremely productive machining

●      User-friendly, high functionality CNC control simplifies programming and increases productivity

●      The compliance of the barfeeder, gate loader and articulated robot increases production and allows switching off lighting

:: See products:  CNC Lathe

What is the difference between a turning center and a machining center?

CNC turning centers perform rotary spindle operations, while machining center performs lathe-type operations.

The standard nomenclature for the basic 9 axes is:

XYZ are linear axes in which Z is aligned with the machine spindle.

ABCs are rotary axes rotating around XYZ respectively.

UVW are parallel linear axes along XYZ respectively.

2-axis Lathe

With only 2-axis, XZ, the standard lathe is incredibly versatile. You can turn round parts, both inside and outside.

3-axis Lathe

The third axis (Y) is perpendicular to X and Z, allowing you to process curves. Driven by screw actuators, the Y-axis guides slide along the linear or box guides. Movement is achieved by moving the tool in additional ways. Some machines have multiple tool positions and motor-driven tool pockets on the tower. The turret is mounted on a carriage or carriage. Others may have a dedicated milling tool controller mounted on the surface of the turret. A larger engine with a capacity of up to 30 tools is required for this automatic tool changer. Still others mount Y-axis roads on an inclined bed. Other manufacturers assemble an independent milling head with the option of changing the tool. Still others install an independent milling head with the option of changing the tool.

4-axis Lathe

For live tooling to be effective, the workpiece must be accurately positioned. This is done using a spindle or a rotary C axis. Small servomotors in tooling mounted on a turret come into play when the main spindle stops rotating, turning the lathe into a conventional milling machine. The use of servomotors to maintain position will allow both positioning and contouring movement. Profiling cuts can be carried out in this way, using the simultaneous movement of the X-Y-Z axis with the C axis.

5-axis lathe

The fifth axis is usually the A or B axis, so the machine has XYZAC or XYZBC tool paths. The ability of the B axis distinguishes the 5-axis machine from the previous four. The axis rotates around the Y axis, allowing cuts with complex angles. The 5-axis machine supports the entire range of milling and turning operations, allowing you to perform all milling and turning operations in one setup.

CNC Turning Centers vs. Lathes

Although they may look similar, horizontal CNC turning centers are an evolutionary leap from existing CNC lathes. Lathes are, by definition, two-axis machines. As lathes evolved within the capabilities of 3, 4 and 5 axes, they became known as turning centers.

Although there is no formal distinction, the lathe is usually used for simpler machines such as those that perform turning operations only with the X and Z axes. On the other hand, the turning center will likely integrate milling, drilling and auxiliary spindle functions and will include the Y axis Today the terms can be used interchangeably. To some extent, a CNC turning center is less complicated to operate than a lathe because it is completely controlled by a computer that can move all axes simultaneously and with great precision.

::Read more: Machining Center or Turning Center? Comparison and Introduction

Turning Centers Operations

Traditional lathes rotate the material, and the cutting tool gently removes the material, creating something round. There are many operations that can be performed on a lathe, but even more can be performed on a turning center. Additional axes allow cutting around the corners. Traditional 2-axis lathe tools only regulate the workpiece diameter. They must not turn around the corners or intersect in the middle. Multi-axis CNC turning centers can move the tool to cut around the corner. This feature removes material that is out of reach of a traditional 2-axis lathe.

CNC turning centers are easily drilled, drilled and opened. These operations take place in the center of the element axis during centrifugation. There are also live tool functions that can perform these operations on items when they are stationary. The tools drill and make holes wherever specifications require. This feature eliminates the need for additional steps at different stations.

Knurling ensures a natural tool grip. Some machined parts, especially tools, require the user to hold them well. The smooth surface makes them slippery. Knurling presses the pattern on the surface, which makes them easier to handle. Sockets and other metal tools usually have knurled handles.

Cone cutting is easy thanks to more than two axes. Think of it as sharpening a pencil. Performing this function requires an option that is not available for CNC turning. The cone makes the most sense at the end of the piece, but the technique can be used anywhere along the length of the piece.

Threading in the CNC turning center reduces machining time. In traditional lathes, threading is a separate step; the operator must remove it and apply the thread to another station. This step takes time and adds an unnecessary risk element. Precise threading keeps the element locked and can save a lot of time.

Facing ensures a clean edge and cuts the piece to the right length. A piece often starts as a raw material. As part of the machining process, the turning center may face a rough edge. It can also cut a piece to the required size.

MTS Exhibition

MTS gathered worldwide turning centers manufacturers into this online platform. Browse and search for your next supplier with us.

Should you run into any difficaulties, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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