Turning machines account for the largest share of the market amongst metal cutting machine tools. The current state of the art of this machine category is hence a goot indicator for the general development tendencies in the machine tool sector. This market survey shows that the further development of the machine design-wise is characterized by the technological possibilities offered by new turning processes and by increasing requirements in terms of performance which are due to high stress resisting cutting material. Besides higher requirements for the individual assemblies such as drives, keyways and spindles which can be expressed in quantifyable increases of the output, there are also indications of a concept-wise change: beyond metal cutting complete machining new technologies are integrated, process flexibility as a supplement to kinematic flexibility as a supplement to kinematic flexibility. To be able to offer a spectrum of products to the market which from the point of automati on degree and flexibility permits a finely graduated cost effective manufacturing process for each spectrum of workpiece, flexibly configurable systems are offered by the manufacturers starting from the conventional turning machine down to the self-contained turning cell equipped with integrated process monitoring system.
The development of the turning machine is characterized by an increasing degree of automation, capacity and flexibility. This is particularly true for the turning machines which have become self-sufficient turning centres with driven tools, the possibility of using multiple cutting dunctions, higher speed frequencies and tool and workpiece changing systems. Ergonomic and easy to operate control systems are just as important as systems for simulation and optimization of the munufacturing processes prior to real machining. The state of the art which has been achieved in this field meanwhile is documented by the VDI-Z-data base of turning machines comprising data of over 500 CNC turning machines. Evaluations of this data base - some examples given in this paper show some of the possibilities - can lead to valuable results both for munfacturers and users.