Multitask machining (or using a mill-turn machine) means performing various manufacturing operations without manual intervention.
Managing Editor, Production Machining
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Productivity makes most people happy. Whether we complete a home project, or we reach our daily goal at the shop, being productive in life gives us satisfaction. But in order to do this, multitasking often comes into play. When we are walking the dog while checking our e-mails on our iPhone, we are multitasking. In shop talk, however, multitasking offers similar benefits of getting more than one thing done at a time, but takes the concept a step further: Multitask machining (or using a mill-turn machine) means performing various manufacturing operations without manual intervention. It provides the ability to reduce leadtimes, improve machining accuracy, reduce floor space and initial cost, lower operating expenses and operator requirements and improve the work environment.
With many multitasking machines, a single toolholder is used in place of the tool turret, allowing turning, milling, drilling, tapping, facing, grooving and threading operations in the main spindle followed by a hand-off of parts from the main spindle to a subspindle to complete backworking operations. The toolholder is serviced by an automatic toolchanger located outside the cutting zone. Untended operation takes over from there, with auto load/unload during machining operations.
When a shop is faced with producing any part with turning, drilling or boring, OD or ID threads and a few mill features, such as a square or hex, even a bolt-hole pattern, it is time to consider a mill-turn process.