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Lathes which are capable of feeding the tool automatically and withdrawing after the completion of one cycle are generally called as automatic lathes. Thus an automatic lathe performs all the functions automatically without the intervention of the operator during the machining operation and which when repeated is capable of producing identical parts. The operator is responsible for only loading and unloading of the work piece before and after the operation. Automatic lathes can be classified into various types depending upon their size, capacity, number of spindles, machining accuracy etc. Based on the number of spindles, they can be sub-divided into two types namely single spindle automatic lathes and multiple spindle automatic lathes. Both single and multiple spindle automatic lathes are categorized as centre type, chucking type, turret and special purpose lathes.
Chucks and their Classification
Automatic lathes specialized in chucking work are sometimes simply called as Chuckers. An automatic chucking lathe is designed primarily for machining large sized work pieces such as bigger castings and forgings which should be mounted on a chuck. A chuck is a device attached to the work spindle that holds the work piece by means of gripping it with jaws or fingers. The chucks can be basically classified into two types as: independent jaw chucks and universal chucks. An independent jaw chuck is one in which each of the jaws are adjusted with a screw action independently of the other jaws. On the contrary, in a universal chuck, jaws are arranged in such a way that they are all moved together at the same rate by a special wrench. It is also referred to as a self-centering chuck or concentric chuck. Collet chuck, face plate chuck, pin chuck, screw chuck, vacuum chuck, cup chuck are some of the other types of chucks.
Application of Automatic Lathes
The general purpose single spindle automatic lathes are widely used for mass production of high quality fasteners; bolts, screws, studs etc., bushings, pins, shafts, rollers, handles and similar small metallic parts from long bars or tubes of regular section and also often from separate small blanks. They are more preferred for high volume production runs. Multi spindle automatic lathes having four to eight parallel spindles are used when a much higher rate of production is required.