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Lathe machines can either be manual or computer numerical controlled (CNC). Manual machines require the operator to manipulate the position of the workpiece along two or more axes. This is done through the use of hand wheel controls. On the other hand, CNC lathe machines completely automate the machining process and follow pre-programmed movements dictated by computer software.
CNC machines are considerably more expensive to buy upfront and require highly skilled workers with advanced training to operate. CNC lathe machines are used in industries that require incredible high precision parts especially automotive, healthcare, electronics and aerospace.
CNC lathes are versatile machines with many applications. This type of machine features stationary cutting tools used to reshape workpieces from existing material. The outer diameter (OD) and inner diameter (ID) cutting tools may be operated in an axial or radial orientation depending on the desired method of lathing. Lathing methods include turning, facing, grooving and boring. As CNC lathes follow preset computer programmed instructions they have limitless applications in the manufacturing process of goods, from small intricate electronics to large scale automotive production.
CNC lathes are industrial machines used in metal working factories that operate with a high degree of precision and accuracy. As this type of machine possesses many moving parts the best way to keep a CNC lathe in good working order is to provide regular maintenance. Lubrication should be applied periodically as prescribed in the user manual and dirt, grease and off-cuts should be cleaned after every use. Furthermore, calibration tests must be performed periodically as this machine is computer operated and accuracy is at the forefront of production.
CNC lathes are extremely heavy pieces of machinery weighing over 1,000kgs. This requires the installation process to be carefully planned for some considerations to be made.
The first of which is ventilation. This type of machine is sensitive to excessive humidity and a lack of ventilation can cause premature rusting.
Another important aspect to consider when installing a CNC lathe is the power supply. Where the power is being supplied and how it will be delivered to the machine should be planned before the machine is delivered. It is important to note that some machines may require an electrical input that differs from the surrounding machinery.
Finally, due to the precise nature of this machine, it requires the work floor to be perfectly level and made of one solid slab. Uneven flooring or improper placement may cause issues with accuracy while in operation.
CNC lathe operators must meet the following criteria before operating a lathe machine in a commercial setting.
The following VET qualifications are the recommended courses set by the Australian Government to obtain the required skills necessary to become a CNC lathe operator.
Most popular CNC Lathe & Turning Machine suppliers and brands on IndustrySearch are Benson Machines, CNC Machinery Sales Australia, Field Machine Tools, Applied Machinery, HACO Australia, Ron Mack Machinery Australia Pty Ltd, Delahenty Machinery, TJ Machine Tools Pty Ltd.