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The use of a center-drive lathe is a specialized process that offers the ability for two, three or four cutting tools to simultaneously machine a workpiece and keeps cycle times to a minimum.
As you can guess, the placement of the machine’s main spindle unit is in the middle of the turning center bed, which is what differentiates a center-drive lathe configuration from other horizontal turning machines. Slides operate on either side of the main spindle and carry the X-, Z- and sometimes Y-axis tool motions. These machines are built with a minimum of one tool carrier on either side of the spindle. For this reason, a center-drive lathe is at least a four-axis turning center. Often, for thin walled workpieces, pinch turning techniques can be used to balance cutting forces and eliminate deflection.
Center-drive lathes are specifically designed to process cylindrical workpieces for automotive, truck, marine and related industries. Because the workpiece is gripped in the middle, both ends can be machined simultaneously. This setup promotes close tolerance workpiece production with a single chucking of the blank.
The multiprocessing capability of the center-drive concept may be worth looking into for your shaft applications. Read more about the process by visiting “Center-Drive Offers a Turning Alternative.”