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Vertical turning technology has been around for over a century, but the idea to flip the position of the spindle and the toolholder is still relatively new. What’s great about vertical turning technology is that, by setting up a vertical turning station, a shop can automate more of a particular production activity, freeing up operators and increasing output at the same time.
With conventional vertical turning, the spindle and workpiece are located close to the ground and the cutting tool moves to the piece from above. A big drawback to this setup is chip management, because the chips pile up on the part and around the spindle. But with inverted vertical turning, the workpiece is suspended above the tool, so chips fall away from the piece as they are dropped. Add to that the ability to configure the spindle as an automatic parts loader and the multi-tasking capabilities available by adding a tool turret--such as drilling, milling, grinding and hobbing--and there’s a real opportunity to boost production and profits in a wide range of applications.
Inverted turning does have its limitations, primarily part size. Because the work is suspended on the spindle, very large pieces cannot be produced in this way. But if your shop handles mid- to small-size slugs, vertical turning is an option worth investigating. Our July issue features the story of how one shop incorporated an inverted vertical turning lathe into its existing technology mix and has reaped big rewards from the automation and the flexible production capabilities.
Also be sure to check out “Vertical Turning Upside Down” on our website for more information about the development and application of inverted vertical turning technology. http://www.productionmachining.com/articles/vertical-turning-upside-down.aspx
To send article ideas for this column relating to metalworking processes, please e-mail me at email@example.com. I look forward to hearing from you.
Editor PickThe 2016 Capital Spending Survey
The machine tool market bottomed in the summer of 2016, but will continue to rebound in 2017 as shops invest in technology for unattended operation.