Lathes for automotive industry


As in all industries within the automotive sector, quality and precision are key aspects in component manufacturing. One of the fundamental processes to achieve this is machining, and automotive lathes play a crucial role. Vehicles are composed of a wide range of elements such as cylinders, camshafts, gears... CNC lathes can be involved in the manufacturing of all these components. Understanding what types of automotive parts can be produced with lathes is highly useful for optimising the process and taking production to the highest level.

Lathes for Automotive Industry


CNC lathes play an essential role in the manufacturing of a wide variety of automotive parts. Pistons, connecting rods, crankshafts, engine blocks, cylinder heads, camshafts...

  • Pistons are key components in the engine, as they convert combustion energy into linear motion.
  • Connecting rods connect the piston to the crankshaft and transmit motion.
  • The crankshaft converts linear motion into rotational motion.
  • Engine blocks are the basic structures that contain the cylinders and other engine components.
  • Cylinder heads seal the cylinders and house the valves and camshafts.
  • Cylinder heads contain the intake and exhaust passages and house the valves.
  • Gears transmit motion and power between different systems of the vehicle.
  • Shafts are power transmission elements.
  • Camshafts control the opening and closing of valves, regulating the flow of air and fuel in the engine.

The possibilities are as varied as they are demanding in terms of precision and quality. Each of these parts serves a specific function in the proper operation of the vehicle. Lathes allow for precise dimensions, complex shapes, and high-quality finishes. Additionally, the efficiency and speed of machining on automotive lathes ensure efficient and cost-effective production of these automotive parts. For these reasons, these machines are perfect allies throughout the process and a guarantee of excellence.

Transmission belt
Automotive cylinder


Automotive lathes offer key advantages in the manufacturing of automotive parts. The main advantages are:

Dimensional precision.

Dimensional accuracy

Ability to work with resistant materials

Ability to work with resistant materials


Efficiency in the machining process

These advantages allow for the production of high-quality parts with optimal performance in vehicles. Parts manufactured with automotive lathes are vital components for the engine and other vehicle systems. They contribute to energy efficiency, durability, emissions reduction, and overall performance of the automobile.


The following are the most frequent and in-demand processes for using lathes in the automotive sector.


Cylinder liners are metal tubes inserted into the cylinders of the engine block. Their main function is to provide a resistant and durable working surface for the movement of pistons. Cylinder liners are manufactured using lathes to ensure consistent accuracy and quality in their machining. Lathes allow for the creation of precise and uniform geometry in the cylinder liner, which is crucial for proper sealing between the piston and the cylinder wall, avoiding pressure leaks and loss of performance.

On the other hand, pistons are moving components that travel inside the cylinder liners. They convert the energy generated by fuel combustion into linear motion, which is then transmitted through the connecting rod to the crankshaft. Lathes allow for the machining of the shape and characteristics of pistons with high precision, such as oil drain holes, piston ring grooves, and skirts. This ensures a perfect fit within the cylinder liners and optimal engine performance.



Camshafts allow for the transformation of circular motion into linear motion. A camshaft consists of a shaft on which cams of different shapes and sizes are placed to activate mechanisms such as valves at repetitive intervals. They are cyclic mechanical timers.

In the automotive field, the camshaft is a key component in the engine's distribution system. Its function is to control the opening and closing of intake and exhaust valves. The cams can modify the phase angle to advance and delay the opening and closing of the valves.

The manufacturing of a camshaft requires extreme precision and a series of meticulous steps. The manufacturing process begins with the selection of suitable materials, such as high-strength steel, followed by machining using automotive lathes. These lathes allow for shaping the camshaft, creating the necessary lobes to control the valves. Once machined, the camshaft undergoes heat treatment and polishing processes to improve its strength and surface finish.

In terms of materials, camshafts are usually made of high-strength alloy steels, such as chromium-molybdenum steel. They offer the ideal combination of toughness and fatigue resistance required to withstand high loads and extreme operating conditions in the engine.

Optimal engine performance relies on achieving the precise shape and profiles required. With automotive lathes, it is possible to create the appropriate lobes and ensure the proper functioning of the valves. The CNC technology used in these lathes ensures repeatability and precision in the manufacturing of each camshaft with an extremely high degree of accuracy.



Shafts are essential components in power transmission and motion within an engine. They are structural elements that guide the rotary motion of a part or a set of parts, such as a wheel or a gear. Their manufacturing requires high precision and strength to withstand extreme loads. CNC lathes play a vital role in shaft machining, allowing for the desired dimensions and finishes to be obtained. Automotive shafts can have different shapes and sizes, such as transmission shafts, steering axles, and suspension shafts. Shaft manufacturing involves machining a raw piece of material to obtain the final shape and dimensions. Machining on CNC lathes guarantees accuracy in diameters, thread alignment, and smoothness of the surface of the shaft.

The manufacturing of automotive shafts involves a combination of different operations. The most common ones are milling, grinding, and turning. Turning is the main technique used in shaft machining to obtain the desired shape and dimensions. For this purpose, it is essential to have a range of CNC lathes that meet the required technical specifications.

The strength and durability of automotive shafts are achieved through the proper selection of materials, such as high-strength steels, and precise machining on CNC lathes. The latter allows for the required tolerances to be achieved and ensures the quality and performance of the shafts under extreme operating conditions.

Axle manufacture


A gear is a type of mechanism that consists of a minimum of two toothed wheels. Its function is to transmit mechanical power from one component to another. When the wheels are of different sizes, the larger one is called the crown gear, and the smaller one is called the pinion gear. The most common gears in automotive applications are spur gears, bevel gears, and planetary gears. Spur gears are used in transmission systems and allow for direct power transfer. Bevel gears are employed in differentials and enable power distribution between the wheels. Planetary gears are used in automatic gearboxes and power steering systems.

Gears are key elements in power transmission and speed changes in a vehicle. Gear manufacturing requires precision in the shape of the teeth and proper meshing between them. Automotive lathes are valuable tools in gear machining, allowing for the desired profiles and tolerances to be obtained. The gear manufacturing process involves the use of milling machines and CNC lathes to cut the teeth and achieve the proper meshing. Additionally, heat treatments are employed to improve the strength and durability of the gears.

Gear manufacturing


The suspensions of a vehicle consist of a set of mechanical elements that connect the wheels to the main structure, facilitating relative movement between them. They have a set of structural elements whose mission is to activate springs and dampers, guiding the wheels in their travel.

Suspension components provide stability and absorb road irregularities, ensuring a safe and comfortable ride.

Among the most relevant suspension components are suspension arms, axle shafts, bushings, shock absorbers, springs, stabilizer bars, and ball joints, among others.

  • Suspension arms: These structures connect the car's chassis to the wheels, allowing controlled up and down movement to absorb terrain impacts.
  • Axle shafts: These components connect to the wheels, facilitating their rotation and providing support for the vehicle's weight and steering forces.
  • Bushings: Bushings are essential elements in the suspension system, as they are used to align and stabilize different parts.
  • Shock absorbers: They absorb and dissipate the energy generated by wheel movement, offering the driver a smoother and more controlled driving experience.
  • Springs: They provide support and help maintain the proper height of the car.
  • Stabilizer bars: These bars reduce lateral rolling in curves.
  • Ball joints: They facilitate the movement and articulation of different suspension parts.
Suspension components


The transmission system of a vehicle transfers the power generated by the engine to the car's wheels, enabling its movement. The main transmission components in the automotive industry are gears, bearings, clutches, driveshafts, synchronizer gears, and universal joints:

  • Gears: These toothed wheels are responsible for power transfer and gear ratio variation. Automotive lathes help ensure precise shape and dimensional accuracy of gear teeth, contributing to optimal performance and increased durability.
  • Bearings: These low-friction elements support loads and smooth the movement between the moving parts of the transmission. The use of lathes in their manufacturing process allows for precise geometry.
  • Clutches: Clutches enable the connection and disconnection of the engine and the transmission. Their function is to facilitate gear changes, allowing for controlled vehicle starting and stopping. The use of lathes in the clutch manufacturing process helps achieve proper fit of the moving parts, resulting in efficient coupling between the engine and the transmission.
  • Driveshafts: These components are responsible for transferring the engine's rotation to the wheels, which are on a different axis. They carry energy from the gearbox to the axles, allowing for movement.
  • Synchronizer gears: These gears are used in manual gearboxes to enable smooth gear changes. They adjust the rotational speed between gears before engagement, preventing scratching and damage to components during gear shifts. The precision of lathes in their manufacturing achieves exact tooth form and position.
  • Universal joints: These universal joints transmit power to the driveshafts at angles. They compensate for angle variations between the axes to efficiently transmit power and provide smooth wheel movement. The use of automotive lathes ensures precise alignment of moving parts.
Transmission components


Accuracy in the manufacturing of brake components for automotive applications is essential. Safety and quality are at stake at this point. The most common brake components include discs, drums, callipers, brake boosters, and brake lines:

  • Discs: These are metallic cylinders that rotate with the wheel and are equipped with brake pads that expand outward to generate friction and stop the vehicle. Thanks to the use of CNC lathes in the machining phase, it is possible to achieve a smooth and uniform surface of the disc. If the brake discs require holes to improve heat dissipation and prevent slippage of the brake pads, such holes can be drilled using lathes.
  • Brake callipers: Their assembly is carried out on the brake pads, allowing them to make contact with the disc and contribute to braking the vehicle. Their function is to apply the necessary pressure on the pads to make contact with the disc.
  • Brake booster: This component, also known as a brake amplifier, helps increase the force exerted on the brakes when the pedal is pressed. It is very useful in trucks or large vehicles or those with assisted braking systems. It uses the vacuum pressure from the engine to amplify the force exerted on the brake pedal.
  • Brake lines: These metal or flexible conduits are responsible for carrying brake fluid from the master cylinder to the callipers. They are crucial for transmitting the pressure exerted on the brake pedal to the brake system. Their manufacturing involves shaping stainless steel or copper tubes, which are cut to the proper length and shaped.
Brake components


Steering components are key elements for the control and handling of any type of vehicle, allowing the driver to steer it safely and precisely. Their main function is to provide stability, precision, and response in vehicle steering. A steering system in good condition and properly adjusted ensures safe control, avoiding sudden and unpredictable movements that could compromise the safety of the car and its passengers.

The main steering components in automotive applications are:

  • Steering arms: Steering arms are generally manufactured from forged or cast steel bars. Their main function is to transmit the motion generated by the steering column to the front wheels.
  • Tie rod ends: These components are located at the ends of the steering arms, connecting them with the ball joints. They allow for the articulation and movement of the front wheels in response to the driver's actions on the steering wheel. They are manufactured from forged or cast steel, although they can also incorporate materials such as aluminium and steel alloys. The use of lathes allows for shaping the raw material, threading, and other necessary machining processes.
  • Steering ball joints: They are located at the joints between the tie rod ends and other suspension components, allowing articulated movement and force transmission between the different elements of the steering system. The use of lathes in the manufacturing of ball joints allows for threading and polishing, ensuring a smooth and flawless contact surface.
  • Steering shaft: The steering shaft connects the steering wheel to the vehicle's steering system, transmitting the motion. The materials used in its construction are mainly steel, aluminium, and reinforced plastic. Automotive lathes provide high-precision machining, ensuring a perfect fit and smooth operation of the steering system.
Steering components


Lathes are involved in the manufacturing of an immense range of components for various industries, and the automotive industry is a prime example. The interior of a car or a truck is composed of hundreds of components for which different types of machinery, including CNC lathes, are used. CMZ's range of CNC lathes offers machines suitable for machining all types of parts, guaranteeing the precision required in the automotive sector.