If you are considering adding a turning center to your machine shop, and it’s been a while since you’ve looked at all the capabilities, you might be blown away by some of the innovations that could make adding a turning center to your operation a smart and efficient choice.
Traditionally, a turning center was a very focused piece of equipment, offering a two axis lathe, which allowed for machining of round, straightforward parts.
However, with the addition of things like live tools, Y-axes and sub spindles now available as features on the machines, we are now seeing incorporation of non-round parts, more processes and more automation on turning centers as well, making them a smart addition to most shops.
We can take parts that would have traditionally been milled on a machining center and do most of or all of that on the turning center, bringing the traditional turning center more toward a done-in-one type of machine.
Here are three types of innovations that have been leading the way toward more flexibility with turning centers.
Introducing New Axes
Traditionally, you would have a two axis lathe, including X and Z axis, but machines now, which have incorporated a Y-axis or C-axis are changing the way machine shops think about turning centers.
The addition of the new axes allow for machine operators to incorporate milling, drilling and additional features like keyways onto the parts. The addition of the Y-axis also allows for moving off center, and providing more flexibility with the machining process, when looking to complete more processes on one machine.
The Benefits of Sub-Spindles
The option of including a sub-spindle on your new turning center provides your shop with even more capabilities when considering how much work can get accomplished on one machine. By introducing a machine with a sub-spindle, your shop can be given an opportunity to achieve the goal of keeping a part on one machine until it is finished. Some parts can be started on the main spindle and then moved to the sub spindle to finish back working features that could not have been achieved on the main without moving to another machine or flipping the part around.
Bar Feeders and Bar Pullers
When looking to automate the machine, using something like a bar feeder or bar puller is critical.
A bar puller is the more cost-effective method, giving the operator the ability to increase unattended time without the cost of a bar feeder. However, a bar feeder, for example, is a great option that releases the machine from requiring an operator to stand there all day long and load parts into the machine, making it automated and efficient, allowing programming based on the number of parts to operate the machine without an attendant. It also eliminates the need to cut the parts in advance, freeing up the saw for other operations.
If you’re curious to learn more about all the new capabilities and functionalities turning centers could offer your shop, make sure to check out our YouTube channel for our latest tech talk with everything you need to know about turning centers or call into the Reynolds Machinery Dayton Tech Center to set an appointment with an engineer or the sales team to answer any of your lingering questions!