From Boring Tools to Tool Presetters, Here’s What You Should Know About Machine Tools

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Robots are taking over. No, that’s not a statement on the latest science fiction craze but a fact about the state of manufacturing throughout the world. From the automotive industry to aerospace applications, robotics and automated manufacturing help with the creation of all sorts of heavy machinery. Even the robotic equipment that operates alongside human workers is there to make manufacturing easier and more efficient.

However, most people don’t know what parts these machines utilize in factories and workshops around the world. Here is a brief list of common machine tools and the purpose they serve in modern manufacturing:

Boring Tools (and Other Types of Cutting Tools)
Boring — the process of making a pre-drilled hole larger — was actually among the earliest types of machine tooling and was first used hundreds of years ago to create cannon barrels. Today, boring tools are used for the same purpose, and they can either enlarge and finish drilled holes or they can cut new holes blind. Other cutting tools are also used for boring, drilling, and shaping parts, typically those made from wood or metal.

Collets and Clamps
In order for these machines to function properly, they need the right kinds of collets and clamps to hold the tools in place (part of a category known as tool holders). Collets are a type of clamping system that can either go over the cutting tool or be placed inside the cutting tool, usually through threading on both pieces. These are known as external and internal collets, respectively.

Presetters: Why are they necessary?
Presetters are used to program machine tools to perform certain jobs. They can store settings to make production easy, and their use can help a shop reduce the amount of mistakes and human error in manufacturing. For instance, a tool presetter can specify the movement of a boring tool on a milling machine in order to complete a high speed, high velocity cutting job hundreds or even thousands of times.

So what types of machines use these pieces?
Traditionally, these machines fall into the category of CNC machines — or computer numerical control, meaning that these devices are controlled by presetters. Common examples of CNC tools include lathes, which are made for smaller workpieces, and milling machines, which can hold and cut larger items.

As machinery advances, more of these machines become connected to “the Internet of Things,” which is the name given to devices that connect to the internet in order to function. These machines are able to be programmed and monitored via the internet, so manufacturers can know right away if there are any problems with production. As the Internet of Things expands, so can the innovations in the robotic equipment used in factories and other applications.

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