Screw machines have been used for over 100 years to manufacture precision metals parts. These machines were originally used in Switzerland to machine small, identical parts for watches. Since then, automatic screw machines have been developed to produce millions of different parts.
Spex uses screw machines to manufacture and ship millions of custom parts every year. We use Swiss screw machines to machine bolts, pins, screws, and other types of fasteners. The name can be misleading, because most screw machines aren’t used to manufacture screws.
There are different types of machining processes that are used for different parts and materials. In this post, we’ll explain the differences between the different types of screw machines: Swiss screw machines and turret screw machines. Swiss screw machines can be further divided into CNC machining and automatic machining.
CNC screw machines are also referred to as CNC lathes or turning machines. The machine is controlled by a computer program where the machinist inputs specific measurements often called a G-code. The code tells the machine where to cut and drill the raw material to form the part. A computer-aided design (CAD) software is used to design the part and write the G-code.
The CNC type machines can perform more functions and use a wider variety of tooling to manufacture parts. This allows them to produce higher quantities of parts in less time.
Standard screw machines are typically single spindle. CNC Swiss screw machines can have a second spindle, or double-spindle. This allows a secondary operation to be performed on a part without human intervention.
Automatic Swiss screw machines are very similar to CNC machines. These machines function with a disc cam that moves the cutting tool in a circular motion to form the part. A collet holds the raw material in place as the spinning cutting tools remove material.
Automatic screw machines are more efficient when fewer operations need to be done to form the part. They can perform multiple cuts to machine complex parts, but not as efficiently as a CNC machine.
These machines are often used for mass production of small tubular and slender parts.
A turret screw machine can produce similar results to a Swiss screw machine, but the process is slightly different.
The turret machine holds the raw bar stock in the center of a rotating turret that holds different cutting tools. The machine spins the part around to the different tools and they perform the cuts to form the part. The tools can come in from various angles to cut threading, angles, or drill holes into the part.
Once the part is finished, the turret releases it and the bar stock is moved up to start forming the next part.
These three types of precision screw machines produce very similar results. They’re used in different situations, depending on the part design, material, and quantity needed. If you have more questions about our precision machining services, don’t hesitate to reach out to our team.
We have worked on thousands of custom projects in a range of industries. We are happy to help you pick the best machining process for your next project.