A horizontal lathe, simply defined, is a cnc machine tool to help cut different profiles in revolving steel or wood work pieces. A standard lathe machine consists of a precision machined bed or base with a drive mechanism together with a headstock at one end and a supporting tail at the rear. The work piece is held in a vice-like grip in the headstock and rotated rapidly around its own axis. An appropriate machine tool is then brought into play against the work piece which cuts the required profile.
There are two types of lathes - the horizontal lathe and the vertical lathe. The nomenclature is meant to distinguish between lathes with horizontal or vertical work piece orientation. The horizontal lathe is rampantly used in high precision machining operations.
The horizontal lathe is available in various sizes, designs, power ratings, and levels of automation. These range from miniature, bench-top watchmakers lathes to huge, fully automated Computer Numerically Controlled (CNC) lathes. The horizontal lathe is predominantly used in cutting heavy plate or ring-like machine parts
with large diameter and the lathe is widely used in the processing work of many industries including rubber, mining, railway equipment manufacturing, and automobile production - amongst others.
There are two main types of horizontal lathes - wood working lathes and steel working lathes. Wood work lathes are understandably the simpler of the two - though the working principle of both machines is the same.
The CNC horizontal lathe series is developed in conformity with domestic and international standards. It is generally of a compact structure capable of abundant functionalities, high speed, precision etc. It may be said that most CNC Lathes are old manual lathes that have gone through a conversion to CNC.
The characteristics of a CNC horizontal lathe are a 45 degree slant bed and total guard cover and oil and water leakage stoppage. The lubricating oil and cooling liquid are isolated from one another with separate oil water grooves. The CNC horizontal lathe series uniformly uses high rigidity spindle structure. Most parts coming off a CNC Lathe will be cylindrical and symmetrical. The horizontal lathe is versatile and can be used to cut cylindrical shapes from square stock or cut ornamental profiles like fancy table legs, lamp stands, pens, and chess pieces. Precision engineering parts like engine components, spherical joints, medical equipment, and aircraft parts can also be turned on horizontal lathes. In fact, almost all steel and wood products which feature shoulders, tapers, grooves, or other intricate profiles can be easily done on these lathes.
Strangely, a number of engineering workshops have no CNC machining and are hesitant to adopt new technologies. Although the benefits of CNC turning for quality and precision are generally understood and widely accepted, the decision to move over to CNC turning is being resisted by engineering work shop owners.
This is principally due to some widely prevalent misconception that CNC technology is complicated and will require highly trained computer programmers to develop turning programs. Despite all theses resistance, the change will inevitably come. A shop cannot stay and survive in business today unless the owners give up their apprehensions and move to CNC.
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