Machine Tool Selection Tool

TechSpex is an interactive website that houses machine tool specifications for virtually any type of machine tool to perform virtually any metalworking operation, and it’s anonymous and free.

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In the 17 years that we’ve published Production Machining magazine, there have been sea changes in the technologies we have covered. Back in the day, a screw machine shop (that’s what we called them then) was easily defined because it was unique as a metalworking shop. The technologies were primarily mechanical (automatics) and mostly cam-driven machine tools. Shimming a cam was equivalent to setting an offset.

Today, we see the rise of CNC technology as mechatronics increasingly improve efficiency to a point of competing in cycle time with cam-actuated machines. These machines also bring the benefit of faster change-over times as production volumes trend toward higher mix and lower volume lots sizes. The old days of “set up a machine and run it for years,” in most cases, is no longer feasible.

As shops replace their cam departments with programming departments, a whole new world is opening up to the “screw machine” shop: it’s the ability to morph into a precision machined parts manufacturer. As this trend has occurred, many traditional shops have discovered that its once well-defined demographic has been expanded thanks to the “magic” of G code.

New operations are being introduced to the traditional mix of primarily turning-based processes in order to do more work for the shop’s customers. This transition requires a move from the shop’s comfort zone to new technologies.

The question becomes how does a shop figure out what machines are available in non-traditional machining operations without having an army of sales people traipsing through the shop. I submit that a visit to Techspex might be the ticket. TechSpex is an interactive website that houses machine tool specifications for virtually any type of machine tool to perform virtually any metalworking operation, and it’s anonymous and free. For more information about TechSpex, visit its website