CNC Turning produces parts by “turning” rod material and feeding a cutting tool into the turning material. In CNC Turning the cutter can be fed into the rotating workpiece at a variety of angles and many tool shapes can be used. CNC Turning provides an economical way to make parts that are commonly symmetrical about an axis of revolution (e.g. a chess pawn). Shapes that can be made using CNC Turning include a variety of plain, taper, contour, fillet and radius profiles plus threaded surfaces. Although many turned parts use a single axis of revolution, there can be multiple axiis to allow more flexibility (e.g. camshafts). CNC Turning can be combined with CNC Milling and other processes to make more diverse shapes.
The CNC turning center most appropriately fits in the mid-range of production, replacing the turret lathe. CNC offers many benefits, not least CAD/CAM integration, but the CNC itself usually does not give any inherent speed advantage within the context of an automatic lathe cycle in terms of speeds and feeds or tool-changing speed. There are many variables involved in answering the question of which is best for a particular part at a particular company.