CNC Lathe Machinery
CNC lathes are rapidly replacing the older production lathes due to their ease of installation, operation, repeat-ability and accuracy. They are designed to use modern carbide tools and make full use of modern processes. The part may be the designed and programmed paths through the process of CAD/ CAM or manually by the programmer and the resulting file uploaded to the machine, and once established and will continue to be tested equipment parts under the occasional supervision of an operator.
The machine is controlled electronically via a menu style interface of the computer, the program can be modified and is displayed on the machine, along with a simulated view of the process. The setter / operator needs a high level of skill to perform the process, however, the knowledge base is broader compared to the older production machines where intimate knowledge of each machine was considered essential. These machines are often set and operated by the same person, where the operator will supervise a small number of machines (cell).
The design of a CNC lathe varies with different manufacturers, but they all have some common elements. The turret has toolholders and indexes as necessary, the spindle holding the workpiece and there are slides that allow movement in multiple axes simultaneously turret. The machines are often totally enclosed, due in large part to issues of health and safety (OH & S) at work.
With the rapid growth of this industry, different CNC lathe manufacturers use different user interfaces which sometimes makes it difficult for operators as they have to be aware of them. With the advent of cheap computers, free operating systems such as Linux and open source CNC software, the entry price of CNC machines has plummeted.
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