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Multi Spindle Machining: A Comprehensive Guide | Screw Machine Parts

Multi-spindle machining offers a cost-efficient method of production for high volumes of small- or medium-sized parts and components. In machining, the entire rotating unit of a lathe is referred to as a spindle—this includes the shaft, bearings, and other integrated parts. Multi-spindle machining refers to the use of several spindles in a machining setup (in contrast to single-spindle machining).

To understand multi-spindle machining requires investigation into how a multi-spindle screw machining works, the use of Davenport machines, common operations of multi-spindle machining, an examination of multi-spindle machine variations, and the materials used by this form of machining.

Multi-Spindle Screw Machine: How It Works

Multi-spindle screw machines feature precision accuracy and shorter cycling times because they apply a larger number of simultaneous tool operations on the turning bar stock. Both a cross-slide and end-slide tool address the raw stock with multiple spindles added to a single drum, making each of the spindles act as a two-axis lathe. As such, the raw stock:

– Cycles through each of the spindle positions in the machining process
– Gets cut off from the remainder of the stock
– May be deburred if the particular machine is equipped for it
– Will be ejected from the machine before the next piece of stock moves into place



Understanding the Different Parts of the Machine

There are three primary components that make up a multi-spindle screw machine: the drill head; drill head attachment; and either an automatic or single multi-spindle lathe. Each carries out a specific function.

. Multi-Spindle Drill Head

Drill heads on a multi-spindle screw machine contain several spindles. Driven by an induction motor with speed variation and precision gears, drill heads rely on ball bearings for smooth and precise movement, producing the capacity to drill a large number of holes at the same time.

. Multi-Spindle Drill Head Attachments

Two types of drill head attachments are available for use on multi-spindle screw machines: adjustable and fixed attachments. Each serves a specific purpose in the machining process:

Adjustable drill head attachments allow for variations in the center distance of the drilling spindle, in order to meet specified requirements with broader variations.
Fixed drill head attachments do not allow for variations of the center distance, which allows for higher precision drilling on complex designs with tight tolerance requirements.

. Multi-Spindle Lathe and Automatic Lathe

Cutting, deforming, and turning operations occur as the lathe turns the stock. This allows for the application of various tools to the workpiece at once. Multi-spindle lathes and automatic lathes make it possible to perform a broad range of operations in a very short period of time.

Common Operations of Multi-Spindle Machining

Multi-spindle screw machines have the capacity to quickly perform an array of operations on material stock. The most common operations include:

– Turning
– Chamfering
– Threading
custom multi spindle machine parts– Drilling
– Grooving
– Forming
– Reaming
– Gear hobbing
– Keyway milling
– Cross-drilling
– Broaching
– Backworking
– Burnishing
– Stamping
– Swaging
– Shaving
– Flat generation
– Thread rolling

These processes—combined with computer numerical control (CNC) milling—are what make multi-spindle screw machining the ideal choice for rapidly manufacturing small or medium parts in medium or high volumes.

Using Davenport Machines

Davenport produces a specific class of multi-spindle machines widely used within the industry. Davenport machines divide the various shaping processes between each of the four to eight spindles within a single drum. With these machines, completion, deburring, and ejection are possible within a single rotation of the drum.

This single rotation might take as little as 10 seconds to complete, providing incredibly fast cycling times for machined parts. Besides the capacity to finish 120-4500 pieces within one hour, Davenport machines provide several advantages, including:

– Clean, precision parts with no additional handling thanks to spindle-stopping and pick-off attachments
– Versatility via a broad range of slotting, cross-drilling, and machining tools
– High-speed production of medium to high volume production cycles using stock from 1/16″ to 7/8″ diameters
– Bar loader attachments to support continuous stock feed, reducing cycling time


custom metal parts

Single Spindle vs. Multi Spindle Lathes

A full understanding of the advantages of multi-spindle screw machines comes through a comparison of single-spindle and multi-spindle lathes and the performance benefits of each type.

. Single-Spindle Lathe

A single-spindle lathe uses one spindle and the assistance of a sub-spindle to machine parts. The single-spindle classification has two variants: fixed headstock or sliding headstock. The fixed position of the former limits its versatility, but a sliding headstock on a single-spindle lathe produces high precision parts with a high output rate.

State-of-the-art single-spindle CNC lathes are a viable option for many demanding machining projects, but there are limitations to their speed, precision, and level of complexity.

. Multi Spindle Lathes

These machines overcome the limitations of single spindle lathes through the capacity to apply more spindles—and thus more tools—to the machining process. With the application of up to six spindles simultaneously, cycle times are four to five times lower. With eight spindle machines, cycle times improve up to six times faster.

The speed of multi-spindle machines produces final finished products faster without sacrificing precision or high levels of complexity.


Benefits of a Multi-Spindle Machine

When it comes to the bottom line, multi-spindle screw machines perform a broader range of functions within a single drum rotation, such as:

– Slotting
– Knurling
– Cross-drilling
– Threading
– Broaching

This improved capacity allows for value-added cost savings via the shorter cycling times made possible by eliminating secondary machining processes. These machines also offer economies of scale, reducing the cost of each individual part further as the size of the production run increases.

multi spindle metal parts

Materials for Precision Machined Parts via Multi Spindle Screw Machines

There are several common materials used in the production of screw-machined parts, including:

– Steel
– Carbon steel
– Aluminum
– Brass
– Copper
– Stainless steel

Where steel and carbon steel are common in most machining applications, specialty or high-precision machined parts often require the use of finer materials such as copper, brass, aluminum, and stainless steel. Specialty parts may need to take advantage of the physical properties of the materials, such as resistances to corrosion and wear.


Screw Machine and Multi-Spindle Manufacturing at Durco

Durco Manufacturing Company utilizes multi-spindle screw machines in the production of complex precision parts. Through the use of Davenport Machines, we have the capacity to apply all of the benefits derived from the use of CNC multi-spindle machining, which include:

– Shorter cycle times
– Higher levels of component precision
– Wider variety of complex finishes
– High-volume runs
– Greater cost-efficiency due to the elimination of secondary machining processes

multi spindle screw machine parts

We form parts from aluminum, brass, copper and various grades and variations of stainless steel. Our facilities are ISO:9001–2015 certified, ensuring the highest standards of quality demanded by the industry. We apply more than 20 years of experience to providing specialty metal finishing and high-end customer care for our wide range of clients for any size production volume.

Though our areas of expertise are in the production of components for the aerospace and medical sectors, Durco also has the capacity and experience to meet the needs and demands of the broader industrial machining market. With multi-spindle screw machining, we support the high-volume production of complex designs.



Contact us for more information concerning the advantages provided by Durco Manufacturing Company’s multi-spindle screw machining services or to request a quote from one of our experienced professionals.