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Switching to Automated Turning: A Cost Analysis

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It may seem like buying a cheaper standalone machine tool saves money, but when it comes to high-volume turned parts, automated solutions can be substantially less expensive overall. Here’s the math.

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It may seem like buying a cheaper standalone machine tool saves money, and sometimes that’s true. But when it comes to mid- to high-volume turned parts, the economics can quickly turn in another direction.

When you consider the whole cost scenario of production turning—including machine, labor, spindle utilization, tooling, workholding, quality and other factors—the automated solution can be substantially more productive, and less expensive overall.

To prove the financial point, take the case of a manually loaded cell with two chuckers, each running one side of the part, with an operator doing all the loading and unloading on both machines. The value of the part is $2 per piece, and it has a 1-minute throughput time. The job is running across two shifts, five days a week.

Now, let’s compare that production process with an automated dual-spindle turning center…READ MORE.