Automatic screw machining is a manufacturing process that employs the use of an automatic lathe to create small, high-precision turned parts. The process is highly versatile and reliable, producing pieces from different materials and finishes with greater consistency than other mass-production methods.
The following article provides an overview of automatic screw machining, including outlining how the process works, types of equipment available, typical parts produced, key benefits, and industrial applications.
Steps Of The Screw Machining Process
While the screw machining process varies slightly depending on the part and production specifications, operations generally follow the steps outlined below:
- The workpiece (typically a rod or bar stock) locks into the machine and spins.
- The spindles holding the tooling move across the workpiece, shaping it into the desired shape and size.
- The workpiece passes through every spindle position until it achieves the specified dimensions.
- The cut-off tool cuts off the formed part from the rest of the stock.
- Finishing equipment (e.g., deburring equipment) removes excess debris and material to smooth out surfaces and sharpen edges.
Types Of Automatic Screw Machining Equiptment
Screw machining equipment consists of five key components: the base, the headstock, one to eight spindles, front and rear slides, and the turret. Different variations of this machine design are available to suit various production applications.
There are two main types of automatic lathes:
- Turret lathes consist of rotating turrets equipped with tooling. When one tool has completed its function, the turret slides until the next tool is indexed and can be applied to the rotating workpiece.
- Swiss lathes utilize a sliding headstock and guide bushing. The workpiece is secured to the headstock with a collet and rotated. The cutting tools move in and out across the workpiece as the headstock moves forward and backward, resulting in the workpiece being cut to the desired length and diameter.
Increasing the amount of spindles results in higher accuracy and efficiency, which allows for faster production of greater quantities of parts. Additionally, using CNC lathes over automatic lathes further increases precision and speed. Automatic lathes are mechanically automated by a series of disc cams, while CNC lathes use programmable computer systems to keep production fast and efficient.
Typical Parts Produced
The screw machining process accommodates a variety of materials, finishes, and part designs. At Associated Fastening Products, we offer screw machining capabilities for the following:
- Carbon steel
- Stainless steel
- Heat treating
Using the above, we manufacture a broad selection of fasteners, such as anchors, bolts, nuts, rivets, and screws.
Benefits Of The Automatic Screw Machining Process
Compared to other manufacturing methods, automatic screw machining offers a number of advantages, including:
- Automation: Automatic screw machines can run with little operator oversight. They generally only require assistance during setup and changeover.
- Precision: The use of a guide bushing and collet provides greater precision for turned parts than other types of lathes.
- Efficiency: Swiss lathes can turn at rates greater than 10,000 RPM. Additionally, multiple spindles allow for increased efficiency of production.
- Uniformity: Screw machining operations produce parts that are consistent from one piece to another and from batch to batch.
- Size capacity: Turning is ideal for creating small parts that would otherwise be difficult to produce, as well as for larger parts that require attention to detail.
Industrial Applications Of The Automatic Screw Machining Process
Parts and products produced through automatic screw machining find application in many industries, including, but not limited to, the following:
- Agriculture: Our fasteners are vital to the integrity of crop handling and field irrigation systems. These machines require strong fasteners to hold together under high stress.
- Automotive: Engine bolts, plated U-bolts for suspension systems, and low friction square threaded jackscrews for power transmission are just a few of the essential and specialized automotive fasteners that we’re equipped to produce.
- Firearms: Our fasteners find their way into firearms used by military personnel and law enforcement.
- Military and Defense: We manufacture durable and reliable fasteners that ensure critical systems maintain their integrity in some of the harshest operating conditions.
- OEM: We provide OEM customers with a wide variety of fasteners, including standard and metric fasteners, brass fittings, O-rings, custom screw machine tooling, and thousands of other options.
- Transportation: Blind rivets and huck fasteners for trucks and trailers reduce forces from vibrations experienced on the road.
IN NEED OF CUSTOM SCREW MACHINING SERVICES?
If you need screw machining services, turn to the experts at Associated Fastening. Equipped with over three decades of industry experience and advanced screw machines, we have the knowledge, skills, and tools to deliver quality parts and products that meet your specifications. For additional information on our product and service capabilities, contact us or request a quote today.