As machine tool capabilities have advanced, many builders are offering Y-axis capabilities to turning centers and multitasking machines. The question is, should you add Y axis to your options list?
Simply put, a Y axis eliminates a second operation by allowing simple milling/drilling/tapping right on a turning center that normally runs only in the same two axes of motion as the turning tools. The Y axis adds a third linear axis to the turning center turret, enabling rotary cutters to machine across the spindle center line.
By enhancing a turn-mill machine tool capability with a Y-axis turret, the machine can do work such as drill holes in the corners of a milled flat on a cylinder. It is not possible to have access to the corners of the flat without a Y axis.
If turning and then milling/drilling/tapping are operations your shop does regularly, and if small-lot products and efficient change-over/setup are key measures of profitability, delving into this technology will more than likely benefit your processes.
To read more about Y-axis technology, how it works and considerations prior to implementation, read “Why Y Axis for Turn-Mill Machines.”
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