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What is an Automatic Screw Machine?

B. Turner
B. Turner

An automatic screw machine is a type of lathe designed to turn metal objects instead of wood. Screw machines are primarily used to produce small objects like screws or other fasteners, though modern versions can be used to produce a wide variety of products. While early screw machines relied on manual labor, the term automatic screw machine is really a misnomer of sorts. For well over a century, all of these machines have been fully automatic.

While the automatic screw machine was first used just to produce screws, today it's used to make almost all small metal components, including bolts, hardware, machine parts and even watch components. Each automatic screw machine may be automated using mechanical motors, or computer-based programming. Some units that rely on computer software programs also use robotic systems to move and finish products.

Machines mass produce screws and other small parts.
Machines mass produce screws and other small parts.

These machines may feature a single or multi-spindle design. A piece of metal fits between the end of each spindle and an adjacent plate or support. As the spindle turns, it rapidly rotates the metal object. By applying various tools to the metal, these machines can cut, form or shape, and polish the metal into the desired product.

On a multi-spindle automatic screw machine, several different objects can be produced at the same time, with one object on each spindle. In some cases, the multi-spindle machine is simply used to make a single product more rapidly. Each spindle serves as a station, and the object moves from station to station to complete different parts of the process. For example, the first spindle may cut the object to the correct size, while the second spindle may be set up to form the head of the object or cut grooves along its length.

The automatic screw machine increases production efficiency for screws and other types of hardware. It allows manufacturers to make these items much more quickly than they could make them by hand. Faster and more efficient production lowers operating costs, which ultimately results in lower prices for the consumer.

When choosing an automatic screw machine, buyers must consider a number of different factors. First, one must examine the overall size of the unit to ensure it fits in the designated space. Next, the buyer must consider the number of spindles and the type of tools each machine can accommodate. He should also consider the size of objects that the machine can produce, as well as the horsepower of the machine's engine.

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    • Machines mass produce screws and other small parts.
      By: Les Cunliffe
      Machines mass produce screws and other small parts.