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– Perfect product manufactured on CNC lathe – CNC technology
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The advent of the CNC lathe (or more properly, CNC turning center) has blurred these distinct levels of production to some extent. The CNC turning center most appropriately fits in the mid-range of production, replacing the turret lathe. However, it is often possible to produce a single component with a CNC turning center more quickly than can be done with an engine lathe. To some extent too, the CNC turning center has stepped into the region traditionally occupied by the (mechanical) screw machine. CNC screw machines do this to an even greater degree, but they are expensive. In some cases they are vital, yet in others a mechanical machine can match or beat overall performance and profitability. It is not unusual for cam-op automatic lathes to beat CNCs on cycle time. CNC offers many benefits, not least CAD/CAM integration, but the CNC itself usually does not give any inherent speed advantage within the context of an automatic lathe cycle in terms of speeds and feeds or tool-changing speed.