How are machine tools classified?

Types of Machine Tools

A large number of machine tools available can be classified in a number of ways as shown

(1) Classification Based on the Desired Purpose

General-purpose machine tools

General-purpose, basic, or standard machine tools are machine tools such as lathes, drilling machines, and milling machines that are designed to handle a wide range of work and can perform a reasonably large number of operations.
A lathe, for example, can be used to perform turning, knurling, threading, or tapering on a job held between centers, turning, drilling, boring, or facing on a job held in a chuck, turning, boring, or facing on a job held on the face plate, or boring on a carriage-held job using a boring bar held in the spindle. With the right attachments, it can also be used for milling, grinding, and relieving.

Production Machine tools

Production machine tools are an evolution of basic machine tools that are designed to increase production rates while decreasing manufacturing costs. These machine tools incorporate features such as multiple spindle heads, multi-tool turrets, and specially designed fixtures to reduce non-productive time or to combine multiple operations.
Capstan and turret lathes, automatic screw machines, multi-spindle drilling machines, and production milling machines are typical examples of this category. They are used for batch work and medium-sized production.

Special purpose’ machine tools

Special purpose machine tools are machines that have been designed for a specific purpose and can only perform one or a few operations. Camshaft grinders, gear generators, and piston turning lathes are examples of machine tools in this category.
In most cases, special purpose machines perform operations that can be performed on standard machines, but in larger quantities, they are much more cost-effective than standard machine tools.

(2) Classification According to Type of Surface Produced

Machine tools producing mainly plane surfaces

These are machine tools in which the tool or the workpiece moves in a straight line relative to each other, resulting in a straight cut.
A plane surface can be created by applying a feed motion that is perpendicular to the direction of tool travel. Shaping, planning, slotting, milling, and broaching machines are examples of machine tools in this category.

Machine tools producing surfaces of revolution

In these machines, either the tool or the work rotates while the other is fed linearly, resulting in a surface of revolution. Lathes, drilling machines, and boring machines are examples of this type of machine tool.

Machine tools reproducing a given shape

These machine tools replicate a given shape by copying a template with a tracer mechanism or by programming. The size of the job produced may occasionally differ from the given specimen. Copying machines, pantographs, and die sinking machines are examples of such machines.

Miscellaneous machine tools

Thread cutting machines, gear cutting machines, cam milling machines, sawing machines, and other specialised machine tools fall into this category.

(3) Classification Based on the Size of Chip Produced

Machine tools producing large size of chip

These machines use various shapes and sizes of tools to produce relatively large chips. They are used on the job to produce the desired size and shape. Lathes, drilling machines, sawing machines, milling machines, and other machine tools are examples of these machine tools.

Machine tools producing chips of very small size

Abrasive grains are typically used in these machine tools to produce a large number of extremely small chips. They are typically used to finish jobs produced by other machine tools or to improve the dimensional accuracy of the job. Grinding machines, lapping machines, honing machines, polishing and buffing machines are examples of this type of machine tool.

(4) Classification Based on the Type of Job Done

This is the most basic and widely used type of classification in practise. The machines are classified based on the main type of operation performed on the machine. Lathes, drilling machines, boring machines, shapers, planers, and slotters, milling machines, grinding machines, jig boring machines, lapping, honing, and polishing machines are common examples. Cam shaft grinders, screw thread grinders, gear generators, and other special purpose machines fall into this category.

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