Hard Turning Adds Options
Although it shares many fundamentals with traditional "soft" turning, hard turning is often considered a cost effective replacement for grinding operations or as a pre-grinding process.
Hard turning is typically defined as the turning of a part or barstock of harder than 45HRC on a lathe or turning center. The process is often considered a cost effective replacement for grinding operations or as a pre-grinding process. Hard turning is most often performed on post-heat treated parts with surface hardness ranging from 45HRC to 68HRC or even higher.
Hard turning shares many fundamentals with the better known “soft turning.” As with any application with which somebody may be new, hard turning requires a bit of a learning curve. But the fundamental principles follow those of the turning operations that are more commonly performed in shops today. This gives it an inherent advantage over grinding, which requires specific knowledge and experience that not all machinists possess. While any new process can be learned, most machinists and programmers today will have an easier time absorbing the hard turning process compared with grinding.
Efficient strategies for eliminating the need for grinding and improving throughput in the shop can be found in the article “Getting the Most out of Hard Turning.” For an in-depth look at recent developments in insert concepts and their effect on the efficiency of hard turning operations, read “Cost Efficiency with Hard Part Turning."