A Computer Numerical Controller refers to a computer that reads machine code instructions in order to control a machine tool. Computer Numerically Controlled, (CNC), Machine tools are used for machining raw material supplies into finished shapes byrunning a series of these instructions. CNC Lathes are probably themost widely knownuse ofthis particulartechnological innovations. They rotate a piece of material so that it can be cut, sanded, drilled or polished, with the final result being acompleted three-dimensional item. In simple terms, CNC lathes are basically the same as a standard turret lathe, but runningunder computer control.
Electric motors started to becomecommonlyavailable in the early 20th century, and this inevitably led to many old fashioned lathes being converted toelectric power.This wasthe initialstage in automating the milling or turning process, It continued rapidlythroughout the 20th centurydue to the fact producers and industrialists increasinglysoughtto increase efficiency and decreasemanufacturing costs.
Constituent Parts / Components
Today's CNC lathes combine a computer with a lathe machine and a controller to convert each digital program instruction into the desired action at the cutting tip.Before this the instructions have to be written using specialist software to encode the required actions.The piece of raw material is then fixed into the machine's chuck and spun at the required speed so that the programmed action can be carried out.The computer then controls the cutting action of the lathe as required in order to produce the finished product.The latest lathes can have up to four spindles to perform multiple jobs simultaneously, which reduces production time and improves productivity accordingly.
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There is another problem that we need to be wary of. Cnc lathes of all kinds including Mazak cnc lathes have seals all over the place for various functionalities. For example, the Mazak Quickturn 6 has several o-rings and seals in the turret assembly as well as several tiny o-rings in the coolant block in addition to seals in the hydraulic motor exit as well as in the draw bar.
These seals are not designed to last forever and need to be replaced during periodic maintenance. Especially if you are in a high production environment, these seals are critical for machine performance. There have been many instances I have seen, where worn out seals can prevent the turret from indexing properly and guess what - when the turret does not index properly to the next station that is called for by the program, you are not going to be making parts.