CNC Turning Center Guide | The Difference Between CNC Turning Center and CNC Lathes

2019/9/17 18:00:23

In order to solve the problems of traditional CNC system closure and industrialized production of CNC application software, networked CNC equipment is a new focus in recent years, like CNC turning centers. Compared to the CNC lathes that commonly used to manufacture lathe parts, what's the difference between them? Here introduces the CNC turning center basics with its unique features differ from CNC lathes.

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CNC Turning Center Guide - What is CNC Turning Center

CNC (Computer Numerical Control) Turning Center generally refers to computer-controlled machines that based on the lathe and increases the functions of power milling, drilling, boring, and auxiliary shaft in further level, so that the turning parts need to be processed twice and three times in the turning center. CNC Turning center often equipped 3, 4 or 5-axes and live tools with powered rotary tool turret, sub-spindle (dual spindles), Y-axis, and multiple turrets, to realize more versatile capabilities. They are usually inclined bed type with complete machine housing to keep chips and coolant splashes inside the turning center. CNC turning centers can be divided into two types: horizontal and vertical. The horizontal turning center is the more common one, with the spindle horizontally oriented, cutting tools installed from the side of tool holder and cut across the workpiece. The vertical turning center is basically the same as horizontal turning center except it's reversed. 

Turning center is a kind of compound turning machine, which can greatly reduce the processing time without re-clamping, in order to meet the requirements of improving the processing accuracy. It's an automatic machine tool with high precision and efficiency. Equipped with multi-axes tool turret or power tool turret, it has a wide range of processing performance. 

CNC Turning Center Guide - What are CNC Turning Centers Used for?

CNC turning centers can be used for machining round metal parts, bars, tubes, gears, etc., execute specific operations like turning, facing, milling, threading, knurling, drilling, boring, reaming, and tapping process, to create shaped CNC turning parts. Multitasking is a notable feature of CNC turning center, almost materials of all surfaces can be machined with it, such as inner and outer circular surface, end face, groove, spiral groove on inner and outer circle and end face, axial hole and radial hole on non-revolving axis line, etc.

CNC Turning centers are applicable in almost all industries for metal or plastic cutting, no matter it's automotive, aerospace, agriculture, electrical, medical or others. 

What are the differences between CNC turning centers and CNC lathes?

  • Processing object. CNC lathes usually process materials can do 360┬░rotation, such as cylinder, cone and so on. The processing object of CNC turning center is generally box parts, such as engine, computer case, mobile phone panel, etc.

  • Rotation. On CNC lathe, the machined parts rotated with spindle, while on turning center, cutting tools make rotation movement. 

  • Tools. CNC lathes generally have 4 or 8 cutting tools, and the turning center is a CNC machine tool equipped with tool system, which can change tool automatically and implement multi-process processing after one clamping of the workpiece.

  • Functions. CNC lathes process are generally completed by stages, that is, one by one. The CNC turning center, which integrates milling, reaming, drilling, boring, expanding and tapping threads, completes all the processing procedures in a single clamp.

  • Axes quantities. CNC machine tools generally have only 2-3 axes, while turning centers are more than 3 axes, even can be equipped with 6 axes.

  • Efficiency. CNC Turning centers are more tend to product efficient turned parts and generally manufacture more parts than a CNC lathe machine each day.

  • Cost. As CNC Turning centers have higher efficiency and allow larger amounts of production, they are typically more expensive than lathes. But the price difference can be made up of profits the extra production and better efficiency bring.


DAJIN provides excellent quality turning services, precision turned parts, offering professional machining services at competitive price and on timely delivery. With our extensive machining capabilities, we produce the most challenging precision machining parts covering all Industries especially in mass production in automotive industry.