CNC automatic lathe machine is the manufacturing industry and the machining world’s best tool and have experienced tremendous technological advances over the past few centuries, beginning with the industrial revolution of the 1820s. Manual labor was revolutionized by the work of machines, and society was forever changed by the introduction of the assembly line in 1913.
Let's move to 2018, more than a hundred years later, and we have computer-aided or numerically controlled (CNC) machines that completely take over the production process. One such machine is the CNC lathe, which quickly replaced traditional multi-spindle lathes, becoming one of the most versatile popular tools today.
Computer-controlled automated lathe are in fact a modern approach to a hundred-year-old tool - a manual lathe. The lathe rotates the raw material along one axis (vertical or horizontal), and the cutting tool attached to it gives the material the desired shape.
Available Sizes - Like mills, CNC lathes can be found in many sizes and shapes, from small machines to full-size lathes that take up an entire room. Miniature, hand-held versions are often used by watchmakers and jewelers, while larger versions are a staple in CNC workshops.
Materials used - CNC lathes can be used for a wide range of materials. Any complex design or shape can be achieved with the right material.
Below are some commonly used materials on automated lathes:
● Prototype wax - machinable wax, regular paraffin and beeswax
● Wood - Turned wood has a beautiful appearance
● Plastics - Delrin®, acrylics and Teflon ™
● Metal - aluminum, brass and stainless steel
● Motor Lathe - A popular type of lathe suitable for low power operations; reliable and versatile; operates over a wide range of speeds and feeds
● Center lathe - includes levers and gears that manage the spindle speed; not a very popular option
● Slotted Bed Lathe - Can easily accommodate larger items thanks to the removable bed section that forms the basis of this machine
● High-Speed Lathe - the faster, lighter version of modern CNC lathes, featuring only the headstock, tailstock and tool turret
CNC lathes offer many advantages over conventional machines. Five main benefits are outlined below.
1. No need for highly skilled operators
In the past, working with lathes required two highly skilled operators - one to operate the lathe and the other to control the material. It was hard work. But now, with the introduction of computers and automation, the tasks of the lathe are much less daunting. You only need one operator - someone qualified enough to enter the dimensions into the machine, adjust the feeds and speeds, and the computer (and machine) will do the rest.
2. Full automation, allowing for easier and faster work
The production of hundreds or even millions of similar dimensions is easier than ever thanks to modern CNC lathes. Today, machine-controlled systems enable CNC lathes to produce perfect parts easier and faster than ever before. Whether you need simple parts, complex parts with tight tolerances, or unique, complex shapes, CNC lathes can handle the job.
3. Highly versatile, suitable for all kinds of products and parts
Unlike manual lathes, CNC automated lathes are versatile enough to produce almost any type of product or part - from heavy-duty furniture and auto parts to delicate lamps and utensils. Shaping cylinders or balls is easy with CNC lathes, which can even be used to produce spare parts for other machines.
4. Accuracy 99.99%
Since less manual work is required, the chances of achieving optimal accuracy are quite high with CNC lathes. This makes these machines the first choice for high precision industries such as aerospace, healthcare and hospitality. In addition, CNC lathes work with almost any type of material. That said, you can never eliminate all errors, either manually or otherwise. So we put that 0.01% aside.
Although CNC lathes are significantly more expensive than manual lathes, CNC models still offer a number of financial benefits, including:
● Low setup costs — Setup costs are a one-time expenditure when working with CNC lathes.
● Machining costs — With CNC machines, you recoup every investment by being able to produce 20x more parts than manual lathes allow in a given time frame.
● Labor costs — Fewer operators are required with CNC lathe work, and they don’t need to be tied to the machines 24/7. This frees up your labor budget for other essential operations.
● Material waste — Less human error means less material waste.
Like other types of CNC machines, CNC lathes have found a solid niche in the machining sphere in the past few years, successfully replacing manual and conventional models with versatility, accuracy, cost-effectiveness and easy automation.
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