These manually worked lathes (as these rotation devices are often known as), required continual operational observation and tracking and were time consuming and manpower intensive requiring experienced engineers to run them.
Aided by the introduction of CNC Turning, where a computer controls the operation of the cutting tool as well as the lathe activity, after set up, it is the computer system that monitors and checks the procedure. This significantly improves the efficiency, integrity, speed and cost effectiveness generating high quality turned objects. A big selection of material could also now be utilized.
The design of these lathes can alter significantly based on the target application, but there are several attributes that are common to most models. The common attributes include a headstock, bed, carriage, and tailstock. More highly developed lathes are constructed with a heavy duty, strong broad bearing surfaces to provide stability and aid manufacturing with great precision. This will help ensure the end components that are fabricated on these devices meet the necessary strain and temperature tolerances and can be built repeatedly.
In contemporary CNC Turning systems, the full end to end development procedure is supplemented by utilizing Computer Aided Design (CAD) and Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM) systems. These programs create a standardized computer readable file that can then be processed to retrieve the applicable instructions essential to instruct the operation of a CNC Turning device. The end result is a precision engineered product that manufactures an exact replica of the CAD model.
In either CAD or CAM led processes, the complicated series of steps required to generate any element is highly automated and creates a component that closely fits the original CAD model.
The cutting tool in a Turning lathe can operate inside (as in a cylinder or tube) or on the outside of the object. This cutting tool generally works along two axis of motion which permits it to work to precise measures of depth and diameters.
This combination of exactness; reduced numbers of professional operators; and repeatability mean that CNC Turning altered the world of Engineering. 24 hour operations are now feasible with relatively minimal levels of supervision, high volumes of parts are able to be manufactured accurately and most importantly cost effectively. This has permitted many commercial sectors to boom and expand very quickly, particularly the automotive, aeronautical and oil engineering industries.
The introduction of comparatively 'affordable' precision engineering services also meant that the cost of delivering new devices and innovations grew at a very quick pace, allowing for significant developments in the mass production of quality engineering components.
Alongside this precision engineering advancement, was the development of the resources, in particular metals, alloys and thermal plastics. These new composite materials took advantage of the advances in precision CNC Turning and were able to not merely develop quickly but to significantly improve the standard of their products.