The CNC Turning machine has evolved at a fast pace since it’s mainstream introduction to manufacturing in the late 1980’s. These types of machines seemed to gain further momentum in the early 2000’s with many subcontract turning companies investing. The gains were massive in terms of unmanned, lights-out production and one hit machining.

From the 2 conventional types of lathe (cam-automatic and swiss-type lathe) came the CNC versions. These new beasts instantly changed the game for turned parts manufacturers. Many companies chose to install CNC sliding head machines which offer close tolerance machining at a competitive price. These types of machines were aimed at medium to high volume batches of shaft type components.

The second type of CNC Turning machine is the fixed head type. This machine is generally aimed at small to medium batch sizes of heavily machined parts. Fixed head CNC turning machines offer great rigidity therefore allowing heavy depths of cut on hard materials. With the addition of a bar feed these types of CNC machine become a powerful tool for any machine shop.

In today’s UK market these 2 machines can be found within any subcontract CNC Turning company due to their flexibility amongst other advantages.



Sliding Head Market Share (UK)


Fixed Head Market Share (UK)


Other CNC Lathe Types (UK)

The modern CNC turning machine host’s an abundance of features to aid component production. Tool life monitoring and sister tool programming have driven efficiency to levels only dreamt of 30 years previous. Many machines are equipped with technology such as high-pressure coolant and LFV (Low-Frequency-Vibration). Such advanced technology has allowed automatic machining of difficult to machine materials.