Machine and machine tools look similar, those are two terms used in the field of mechanical engineering. How to distinguish?
What is the difference between a machine and a machine tool?
A machine is an assembly of mechanisms that can perform particular work by using electrical, mechanical, hydraulic, and/or pneumatic power. and thereby saves our energy and time in finishing the task.
A few examples like printers, welding machines, laminate machines, etc.
A machine tool is a combination of various mechanisms, it is driven by power, not human force, and is non-portable.
The purpose of it is to remove excess materials from the workpiece by cutting or machining and thereby form the required shapes. Normally, the phrase machine tool is used in the metal cutting field only.
A few types of machine tools like a lathe or turning machine, planner, shaper, driller, grinding machine, milling machine, etc.
It is worth mentioning that a machine tool is a machine, but a machine may not be a machine tool.
Classification of machine tools
Machine tools can be classified based on many different factors, some of the classifications are listed below:
- According to the shaping of material: Machine tools can be classified as metal cutting machines and metal forming machines.
- According to the operation controlling method: Machine tools can be classified as CNC(Computer Numerical Control) machine tools, numerical control (NC) machine tools, and conventional machine tools.
- According to the purpose of use: it can be classified as general purpose, single purpose, and special purpose.
What is a CNC machine tool?
A CNC machine tool is an automated machine tool, which is operated by executing pre-programmed control commands. The most commonly used CNC machining language is called G-code.
CNC machine tools are widely used in a variety of different industries, such as the aerospace industry, automotive industry, consumer electronics, military and defense industry, medical industry, and oil & gas industry, etc.
There are 6 most common types of CNC machine tools, like CNC lathes or turning centers, CNC milling machines, CNC plasma cutting machines, CNC grinders, CNC electric discharge machines, and CNC routers.
What are the advantages of CNC machine tools?
CNC machine tools improve machining quality and production speeds. These machine tools offer various advantages over conventional machine tools.
Precision and accuracy:
CNC machine tools use an accurate control system to execute complex operations with a high degree of accuracy. They can produce precision parts with tight tolerances.
Consistency and repeatability:
CNC machine tools execute the pre-programmed commands to control the machining operations, it eliminates the need for manual handling of tools, thereby reducing human error and improving repeatability and consistency. It is very helpful, especially in mass or batch production.
Flexibility and Versatility:
The command code can be reprogrammed quickly and easily, thereby it can switch to produce different parts very fast to meet the shifting customer demands. A single CNC machine tool can process a variety of materials, like brass, steel, aluminum, ABS, polycarbonate, and PTFE. Also, by changing the cutting tools automatically, it can perform different machining processes on the same workpiece without unloading it.