Future of Cam Operated Screw Machines

By Noah Graff

Today’s Machining World Archives Volume 02 Issue 05

CNC has enabled new functionality and capability to be built into today’s multi spindle machines. CNC can easily perform difficult jobs such as back work, cross holes, mill flats and other complex features. They also significantly improve tolerances and provide the capability of lights-out operation; nevertheless, cam machines still remain the predominantly used equipment for American manufacturers.

In 10 years will cam operated screw machines be in widespread usage in the United States?

Absolutely. Cam machines are too efficient and too economical to die out in the next ten years. I foresee thousands of Davenports still running ten years from now because there will still be no better way to produce parts best suited for a Davenport Model B. Single-spindle machines will be replaced with CNC, as they are simpler and cheaper to produce. The Servo B will become more popular due to faster changeover and flexibility of control at a reasonable price.

Robert J. Brinkman
C.E.O., Davenport Machine, Inc., Rochester, NY

I believe cam-operated screw machines will still be required 10 years from today. They may have a diminished role as higher precision machines are being required by the customer base. This shift to higher precision machines is necessitated by more complex parts being designed. In addition, 100%inspection is being utilized to certify parts to 0 PPM (at least as close as possible). The issue of training comes into play also. If we do not continue to train personnel on how to use the cam operated equipment, who will run the cam operated equipment?

Andy Istvan
General Manager, K & Y Manufacturing Inc., Canton, MI

Although CNC machines are wonderful in many regards, the cost to replace all our cam machines in the next ten years would be prohibitive. We certainly will look at new projects with the latest technology in mind. Cams are very appropriate for many applications. How many CNC automobiles are presently on the road? Yes there are many electronic controls, as on screw machines, but the motion is still primarily cam actuated because it’s appropriate to the use.

Ed LeClair
V. P. of Operations, Curtis Screw Co. Inc., Buffalo NY

Cam-driven Swiss and multi-spindle machines will not survive 10 years in any meaningful capacity because users can achieve better machining precision with CNC. CNC multi-spindle technology will have a bigger percentage of the business due mainly to control improvements. If the pace of control and software development keeps up, we will be at cycle times of 2 seconds per part, matching the cam-driven multi. We also foresee a huge shift into the CNC multi as the cam machine knowledge base retires.

Olaf Tessarzyk
President, Index Corporation, Noblesville, IN.

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