CNC Hard Turning 101: What Is the Hard Turning Process and Its Advantages?

An Overview of the Process, Benefits and Special Applications of CNC Hard Turning Services

LeanWerks’ CNC machine shop integrates the latest multi-axis milling technology with hard turning capabilities to offer a full suite of precision mill-turn solutions. You can find out more about our versatile multi-axis milling and turning services in our previous article: Multi-Axis CNC Machining Services Backed by Aerospace Precision. Otherwise, read on to learn about the CNC hard turning process specifically, including some unique advantages and applications.

What Is the Hard Turning Process?

Technically, hard turning refers to lathes or turning centers machining steel with hardness values above 45 Rc. However, that’s only the minimum hardness requirement. Typically, hard turning services are performed on hardened steels ranging from 58 Rc to 68 Rc. A single-point insert is utilized, capable of machining your parts with a full range of close-tolerance geometrical features. In some applications, high-precision threading is also achieved in a single operation.

What Are the Advantages of Hard Turning?

Hard turning enables us to machine the precise final geometry of your custom parts after the heat treating process is complete. With heat treatment, the material properties of the machined part are optimized; however, the part’s geometry is also somewhat distorted in the process. Machining after heat treatment allows us to achieve your parts’ close-tolerance geometry while also taking advantage of the metallurgical enhancements offered through heat treatment.

Hard Turning as an Alternative to CNC Grinding Services

In many precision machining applications, hard turning can be utilized in lieu of CNC grinding processes. Not only is CNC grinding a rarer, more specialized process, it also tends to be more expensive than hard turning operations. This is due to the generally faster, simpler nature of the process, both in setup and execution.

Reduced Costs

CNC turning centers are generally less expensive than CNC grinders, while also being more versatile in their manufacturing capabilities. These factors contribute directly to the reduced cost of hard turning operations. Tooling costs are also reduced, as are auxiliary production costs such as coolant disposal.

Multitasking and Automated Efficiency

Our turning centers perform numerous operations with a single set-up, reducing both turnaround time and labor costs. Automated turning operations are also possible in many machining applications, further reducing overall production costs.

Faster, Simpler Operation

The setup and cycle times of our CNC turning centers can be much quicker than typical CNC grinding operations. Parts can be loaded and unloaded faster, machining processes are performed with greater speed and efficiency, all of which contribute to both reduced costs and turnaround times.

Environmentally Sustainable

The hard turning process is ultimately more green than CNC grinding because it consumes far less electricity. Furthermore, the metal chips and scrap created during hard turning operations are recycled, while the metallic swarf generated through CNC grinding generally is disposed of as an industrial waste byproduct.

LeanWerks Utilizes Some of the CNC Machining Industry’s Most Advanced Hard Turning Technology

  • Diamond burnishing enables LeanWerks to achieve superior surface finish and an optimized grain structure.
  • Advanced cutting inserts including ceramics and CBN to maximize tool life.
  • Rigid CNC work centers w/ massive castings to support precision hard turning and milling operations.

Utah’s Premier CNC Machine Shop Offering Precision Hard Turning Solutions

LeanWerks’ precision-based CNC hard turning services provide your business with the speed, efficiency and close-tolerance precision that your products deserve. From the prototyping stages to production machining, we provide superior CNC solutions certified to AS9100D, ISO 9001:2015 quality standards.

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