General machining companies are dedicated to manufacturing parts by removing material through chip removal or abrasion. These companies work for a wide variety of sectors, such as the capital goods and tools sector, energy sector, automotive sector, and aerospace sector. The incorporation of lathes in machining processes is important because it reduces cycle times and boosts productivity.
General machining companies face several challenges today. Some of these challenges include the need to adapt to hyperconnectivity, redefine their workspaces, and strive to be more sustainable. The investment they make in acquiring machinery is significant and crucial. Having top-level lathes is not just a necessity but an obligation if they want to achieve high-quality finishes and precision.
MOST COMMON MACHINED PARTS
When it comes to machining, there is a wide variety of parts and components manufactured using CNC lathes. Here are some of the most common parts produced by machining companies and sold to other industries and sectors:
Shafts and spindles: Shafts and spindles are fundamental elements in many equipment and machinery. These parts are used in various applications, such as transmissions, steering systems, and motors. Their precise and high-quality manufacturing is crucial to ensure the proper functioning of the equipment in which they are used.
Thread machining: Thread machining is an essential process in the manufacturing of screws, nuts, and other fastening elements. This process allows for the creation of precise and high-strength threads, ensuring the integrity and durability of connections in different systems and structures. Screws and nuts are common fastening elements in numerous industrial applications. These parts are manufactured with high precision to ensure a secure and reliable connection. Screw and nut machining involves the creation of threads, as well as the production of specific heads and shapes according to customer needs.
- Valves and fittings: Valves and fittings play a crucial role in fluid systems, such as hydraulic and pneumatic sectors. These parts are precisely machined to ensure controlled and safe flow of fluids in different applications. The manufacturing of valves and fittings requires meticulous attention to detail, as they must meet strict standards of quality and performance.
- Pump components: Pump components, such as impellers and housings, are machined to ensure efficient and reliable operation of pumps. These parts must meet tight tolerances and specific design requirements to ensure compatibility and optimal performance with the pumping system.
- Cutting tools: Cutting tools, such as end mills, drills, and countersinks, are essential in the machining process. These tools are used to shape, cut, and create precise holes in various parts and materials. Machining cutting tools involve careful selection of materials and geometries to achieve optimal results in terms of quality and efficiency.
- Clamping components: Clamping components, such as flanges and clamps, are fundamental to ensure secure fastening of parts and components in different applications. These parts are manufactured with high precision and attention to detail to provide reliable and robust clamping against the forces and vibrations to which they may be exposed.
- Transmission parts: Transmission parts, such as gears and transmission shafts, are machined to ensure precise coupling and efficient power and motion transmission. These parts must have tight tolerances and a smooth contact surface to minimize friction and maximize transmission efficiency.
- Hydraulic and pneumatic system components: Hydraulic and pneumatic systems use a variety of machined components, such as cylinders, pistons, and valves, to control and direct the flow of fluids or gases. These parts must be manufactured with high precision to ensure reliable and safe operation of the systems.
ADVANTAGES OF USING LATHES FOR MACHINING
Machining using CNC lathes offers several significant advantages compared to other manufacturing methods, including:
- Precision and repeatability: Lathes allow for the production of parts with extreme precision and high repeatability, ensuring uniformity and quality of the produced parts.
- Improved quality: Machining with lathes ensures superior quality in machined parts by eliminating variations caused by human intervention and ensuring consistent precision in each production.
- Reduction of errors and waste: Programming and automation of lathes minimize human errors and material waste, resulting in increased efficiency and cost reduction.
- Increased efficiency and productivity: Thanks to the automation and advanced programming of lathes, it is possible to reduce setup times and maximize production efficiency, leading to increased productivity.
- Greater control and flexibility: With lathes, it is possible to make quick adjustments and changes in machining programs, providing greater flexibility to adapt to different design requirements and part specifications.
- Resource optimization: Lathes allow for maximum utilization of available resources, such as raw materials and cutting tools, by minimizing machining times and maximizing material utilization.
- Versatility in machining: Lathes offer a wide range of machining capabilities, allowing for the production of complex parts with diverse geometries more easily and accurately.
MOST IN-DEMAND PARTS FOR MACHINING ON A LATHE
The industrial manufacturing sector is composed of numerous general machining companies that supply other sectors by producing large-volume batches of parts. Typically, profit margins are tight, and the production pace is high. In such a competitive and demanding environment, a machine downtime can be disastrous. Additionally, precision requirements are mandatory. Although the range of parts is diverse, the following are the most commonly demanded types of parts by end customers in these types of workshops.
SHAFTS AND SPINDLES
Shafts and spindles are cylindrical elements used to transmit motion or support loads in various equipment and machinery. Their precise and high-quality manufacturing is essential to ensure the proper functioning of the systems in which they are used.
- Transmission shaft: The function of this component is to transmit motion and power between two or more parts of a machine or system. It is manufactured on a lathe through operations such as external turning to obtain a cylindrical shape for the shaft and end turning to obtain flat and parallel surfaces on both ends. These operations ensure precise geometry and proper fit in connections with other parts of the system.
- Valve stem: A valve stem is a piece used in valve systems, such as internal combustion engines, to control their opening and closing. In its manufacturing process, the lathe can be used for external turning and thread turning.
- Cardan transmission shaft: A cardan transmission shaft is used in transmission systems to transfer motion from one non-aligned shaft to another. The turning of grooves or keyways to allow connection with other components of the system is performed on machines such as CMZ lathes.
- Hydraulic cylinder rod: A hydraulic cylinder rod is a piece used in hydraulic systems to convert hydraulic pressure into linear motion. It is manufactured on a lathe through operations such as external turning and end turning to obtain a cylindrical and flat surface on the rod.
- Rotor shaft: A rotor shaft is found in electric motors and rotating machines and transmits rotational motion from the motor to the connected component or load. It is manufactured on a lathe through operations such as external turning and keyway turning to obtain a precise cylindrical surface and a groove for connection with other components. These operations ensure proper alignment and precise fit in the assembly of the rotor shaft.
Threads are used to create a helical surface on a material, allowing for connection with other elements using screws, nuts, and threaded connections.
- Internal threads for nuts: Internal threads are used to allow connection with screws or threaded bolts. These threads are machined inside a piece, such as a nut. A lathe equipped with special cutting tools, such as taps, would be used to create internal threads by removing material and achieving precise helical design. This ensures a secure and snug connection with corresponding screws or bolts, providing a firm and strong connection.
- External threads for screws: External threads are used in screws, bolts, and other fasteners. Machining is performed on the outer part of the element to allow connection with a corresponding nut or threaded surface. External thread machining performed on a lathe guarantees a precise threaded surface and a secure connection with nuts or other threaded parts.
- Standard metric threads: Standard metric threads are widely used in the industry and follow established standards, such as ISO standards. These threads are defined by their nominal diameter, pitch, and profile, and are used in a wide variety of applications. Cutting tools and feed systems of lathes help to accurately machine standard metric threads.
SCREWS AND NUTS
Screws and nuts are fastening elements used in machining companies to provide adjustable and secure connections. The following are the most common and in-demand ones:
- Hex nut: Used in combination with hex head screws. The nut is threaded onto the screw to provide a secure and adjustable connection between the parts.
- Hex head screw: A screw with a hexagonal head that is tightened using a wrench or spanner and is used to secure and join parts in applications that require a firm hold.
- Wing nut: Has lateral wings that allow manual tightening and loosening without the need for tools. The wing nut is used in applications where quick and tool-free adjustment is required, such as in panels and covers.
- Countersunk head screw: Has a conical or countersunk head to fit into a countersunk hole. It is used to create flat surfaces and allow other parts to fit securely and levelly.
In all these parts, lathes can be used to machine the bodies of the screws and their external threads. These are parts that require a high degree of precision in their manufacturing process.
Pump components are crucial to ensure a constant and efficient flow of liquids or gases. This is vital in applications such as water supply, machinery cooling, and fluid circulation in hydraulic systems. The following are the most demanded pump components:
- Impeller: It is a rotating component of a pump that imparts energy to the fluid through its rotation. The impeller consists of blades that push or accelerate the fluid, generating the desired flow. Both the impellers and the blades can be machined on a lathe.
- Pump shaft: It transmits motion from the motor to the internal components of the pump, such as the impeller. The strength and proper alignment of the shaft ensure smooth and efficient pump operation.
- Pump casing: This external structure houses and protects the internal components of the pump, containing the flow and maintaining the appropriate pressure.
- Wear ring: It is a component used in centrifugal pumps to reduce wear on the impeller and casing. The wear ring is placed between the impeller and the casing, protecting the friction surfaces and extending the life of the pump. On a lathe, the bodies of the rings and their contact surfaces can be manufactured.
Cutting tools are used to shape, cut, and remove material from workpieces during the manufacturing processes. They are designed to work with various materials such as metals, plastics, or wood, and allow obtaining pieces with the desired shape and precision. The most demanded tools are:
- Drill: It is a cutting tool used to make holes in materials such as metals, wood, or plastics. The drill consists of a cylindrical bar with a sharp tip on one end and a shank on the other. Both the shanks of the drills and the geometries of the tips can be machined on a lathe.
- Tap: It is a cutting tool used to create internal threads in materials such as metals. The tap has a tapered or cylindrical shape with flutes that thread into the material to create the desired thread.
- Milling cutter: It is a rotating tool with multiple cutting edges used to shape and cut materials. Milling cutters can have different shapes and configurations, such as end mills, disc mills, or slotting cutters. Lathes are crucial in the manufacturing process of these cutting tools.
Clamping components play a fundamental role in machining companies and are used to secure and hold workpieces securely during cutting, drilling, or milling operations. Their goal is to maintain the stability and precision required to perform cutting, drilling, or milling operations.
- Clamping bolt: It is a threaded element used to hold and secure workpieces in place. Clamping bolts are used in combination with nuts and washers to create a firm and robust connection. The bodies of the bolts and their threads can be machined on a lathe.
- Clamping jaw: It is a device used to fix and hold the workpiece securely during machining operations. Clamping jaws are usually claw-shaped. It is possible to machine the jaws of the clamping jaw and their clamping systems on the lathe.
- Clamping flange: It is a plate or ring used to join and secure two components or parts together. Clamping flanges are commonly used in assemblies of parts or in fixing components on shafts or flat surfaces. On a lathe, the plates or rings of the flanges and their fixing holes can be manufactured.
Transmission parts are responsible for transmitting power and movement in machinery and systems, allowing the transfer of energy from a source, such as a motor, to different elements or components, such as shafts, gears, or pulleys.
- Cylindrical gear: It is a transmission mechanism consisting of two or more toothed wheels with straight or helical teeth. These gears are used to transmit motion and power between parallel axes.
- Flexible coupling: This device joins two transmission shafts and transmits motion and power between them while allowing a certain degree of misalignment or vibration compensation. Flexible couplings can be of different types, such as sleeve couplings, disc couplings, or bellows couplings.
HYDRAULIC AND PNEUMATIC COMPONENTS
Hydraulic and pneumatic systems use fluids, either liquids (in hydraulic systems) or gases (in pneumatic systems), to transmit force and energy, allowing the movement and control of different elements in machining processes. The most common components are:
- Hydraulic cylinder: It converts the energy of the hydraulic fluid into linear motion. It consists of a cylinder and a piston that moves inside it. Lathes are used to machine both the bodies of the cylinders and their shafts.
- Pneumatic motor: It is a device that converts the energy of compressed air into rotary motion. It is used in applications where rotary motion is required, such as in transportation systems and industrial machinery. Part of the manufacturing of motors and their shafts can be done on a CNC lathe.
REASONS TO PURCHASE LATHES FOR MACHINING
The precision and quality offered by lathes for machining companies and workshops are a safe bet. Acquiring CNC lathes for aerospace machining can provide numerous reasons to justify this strategic investment in the industry. Most of these industries work for third parties that demand high production volumes, with a high degree of precision and tight margins. Equipping the workshop with top-of-the-line machinery represents a significant investment but quickly pays off. The average lifespan of a CMZ lathe exceeds 20 years and can be the perfect ally to optimize production and elevate the quality to a higher level.
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