Machine tools are an intrinsic part of modern engineering. These are power-driven machines such as grinders, lathes or milling machines that are used for shaping, cutting and finishing materials.

What is a machine tool in engineering?


A machine tool is broadly defined as a machine that pushes solid materials through a power source in order to process and form them by physical, chemical and other methods. It can also apply to a machine whose processing material will mainly be a metal workpiece.

What are the categories of machine tools?


Machine tools can be classified into three broad groups. These are:

  • General Purpose Machine Tool
  • Single Purpose Machine Tools
  • Special Purpose Machine Tools


General Purpose Machine Tools are designed to perform a wide variety of machining operations with a variety of workpieces. They are versatile pieces of equipment suited for a range of applications. These types of tools may need some attachments depending on what they are being used for.


Single Purpose Machine Tools are designed to effectively perform a single operation. This type of machine tool is generally suitable for productive work. Some of the operations that fall under the category might include making a crankshaft, machining crank pins, or machining gear by gear hobbing process.


Special Purpose Machine Tools are used for carrying out a particular operation. These will usually be manufactured individually to suit a specific need. These types of machine tools may be used in large production operations where the production rate is higher. They may also be used for mass production operations.


What are the uses of machine tools in the engineering industry?


Companies use various machine tools and equipment to save time and money in the production process. Some of the most commonly used machine tools in the engineering industry are grinding machines, honing machines and lathes.


Grinding machines use an abrasive wheel as the cutting tool. Each grain of abrasive on the surface of the wheel cuts a small chip from the workpiece via shear deformation. It is used to finish workpieces that must show high surface quality


Honing machines use an abrasive machining process to produce a precision surface on a metal workpiece. It achieves this by scrubbing an abrasive grinding stone or grinding wheel against it along a controlled path. It’s primarily used to improve the geometric form of a surface and it can also improve the surface finish.


A lathe machine is a stationary cutting tool used primarily for shaping wood and metal, which are referred to as workpieces. The lathe machine removes unwanted parts of the workpiece to produce the desired product. It is used to process cylinders and cones and it can also perform drilling and screw machining.  In fact, most of the products we are familiar with use parts processed by lathes.


A complete machine tools service

Sparx Machine Tools provide a complete machine tools supply, repair and maintenance service. We have quality used and new tools from Kuhlmey, Zopf and Baileigh, as well as a range of used machines such as grinding machines, honing machines, lathes, milling, radial drill and punch machines.


We also offer an experienced repair and maintenance service.


Contact us to find out more.

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