Machine tool developments seem to run in cycles in response to the health of the economy, and not necessarily the whole economy. And now with the automotive industry slowly regaining some of its former luster, OEMs, their contract-manufacturing supply chain, and, of course, the machine-tool builders are looking to the most advanced turning-machine technologies for that competitive edge. Haas Automation Inc has set an ambitious target of 15 points for new lathe design and hit them all with its dual-spindle DS-30Y turning center. Rich Parenteau, director of applications development, Methods Machine Tools Inc, points to the automotive industry's comeback as providing a boost for the CNC lathe business. His company has introduced high-performance Feeler turning centers and milling lathes, including the HT-series. As for the new Kitako HS4200i four-spindle CNC lathe from SB Machine Tools, the design emphasis is clearly on improving productivity by achieving near-zero loading/unloading times with its high-speed, automatic gantry part-loading system.
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