What are machine tools?
Where manufacturing begins
 

What are machine tools?

Metalworking Machine Tools definition includes a wide variety of machines having as common denominator that they are powered to manufacture products or parts (usually metallic but not only). We call Machine Tools the mother machines since they are the machines enabling the production of all the other machines including themselves.
 
Their distinctive characteristic is that they work a large variety of materials, metal in particular, to produce a required shape. This applies equally to the small precision balls of ballpoint pens as to the most intricate components of aircraft and satellites. Machine Tools manufacture every day life objects that make our life easy.
 
There are many technical solutions to obtain a specific shape from a piece of metal. The most common procedures are:
 
Cut a pattern from a sheet of metal for instance. The technology used includes cutting tools, laser, jet of high pressure water…

 

Sculpt a metallic block by removing material by process like drilling, milling, electrochemical discharge…

 

To shape the piece by bending, stamping…

 

In order to obtain complicate pieces a combination of techniques can be applied.
 
There is a large diversity of Machine Tools types: manually or electrically powered, manually or automatically operated, simple lathes or complex machining centres, from machines making pieces smaller than a  fraction of millimetre to big machines to manufacture pieces of tens of metres.
 
The variety of technologies, sizes and performances encompasses the capacity to produce effectively high accuracy elements in big quantities of any shape designed by the engineers.