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Understanding the Differences between CNC Lathes and CNC Turning Centres: An In-Depth Analysis


Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machines are essential tools in advanced manufacturing processes, providing precision, accuracy, and consistency in production. CNC lathes and turning centres are two popular types of CNC machines that may seem similar at first glance, but they serve different purposes and possess distinct characteristics. This article aims to provide an in-depth analysis of these differences so that both manufacturers and end users can make informed decisions according to their specific needs.

CNC Lathes: An Overview

A CNC lathe is a highly versatile machine tool that utilizes a rotating workpiece and stationary cutting tools to perform operations such as turning, facing, grooving, threading, and more. The lathe's primary purpose is to produce cylindrical parts, but it can also create complex shapes using various tools and attachments. One of the main advantages of a CNC lathe is its ability to manufacture parts with intricate profiles and tight tolerances.

Key Features of CNC Lathes

Primarily designed for cylindrical part production

Stationary cutting tools used with rotating workpiece

Versatile in creating various shapes, including complex profiles

Can produce multiple parts concurrently in complex configurations

CNC Turning Centres: An Overview

CNC turning centres, also known as CNC turning machines, are similar to CNC lathes in many aspects. The major difference lies in their additional features and capabilities, which enables them to perform supplementary machining operations apart from basic turning. These may include milling, drilling, and other secondary processes, helping manufacturers save time, money, and resources by integrating multiple procedures within a single machine.

Key Features of CNC Turning Centres

Enhanced capabilities for additional operations like milling, drilling, etc.

Equipped with live tooling and multiple turrets, allowing for simultaneous machining processes

Greater part completion, reducing the need for secondary operations

Seamlessly integrated automation features that ensure high productivity

Comparing and Contrasting CNC Lathes and Turning Centres

While both CNC lathes and turning centres are designed to handle cylindrical parts with utmost precision, several factors distinguish the two machine types.

Operational Capabilities

CNC lathes are versatile machines that provide a wide range of turning operations. However, their capabilities are limited when compared to CNC turning centres, which can perform numerous additional machining processes. Turning centres have live tooling and multiple turrets, thus facilitating simultaneous machining operations.

Application Scope

If your manufacturing requirements are primarily focused on producing cylindrical parts with simplistic profiles, a CNC lathe may be sufficient. On the other hand, if your production needs involve more intricate parts with additional features, such as drilled holes or milled surfaces, a CNC turning centre would be more suited to the task.

Flexibility and Productivity

CNC turning centres offer extended functionalities that can lead to higher productivity, as they're able to perform multiple machining processes on a single workpiece. If reducing secondary operations and streamlining production is crucial, a turning centre would be an ideal choice.

Cost Implications

CNC lathes generally have a lower initial investment compared to CNC turning centres, due to the latter's increased features and capabilities. However, depending on the intended use and production requirements, the long-term ROI of a turning centre may offset the initial investment, thanks to the reduced need for secondary operations and streamlining.

Making the Right Choice for Your Manufacturing Needs

Selecting the right CNC machine for your application depends on your specific manufacturing needs. It's essential to weigh the benefits and limitations of both CNC lathes and turning centres to make an informed decision. By taking into account factors such as operational capabilities, application scope, flexibility, productivity, and cost implications, you can determine which type of machine is best suited for your specific requirements.

While there may be no universal answer to the question of whether a CNC lathe or a turning centre would better serve your needs, understanding the differences between the two can help ensure you make an informed choice that contributes to overall business success.

difference between cnc lathe and cnc turning centre

What is CNC Turning

CNC turning is a process that involves using computer numerical control (CNC) machines to shape and finish various materials, such as metals and plastics, into desired shapes and sizes.
This process is typically used in the manufacturing industry to produce precision parts and components for a wide range of applications, including automotive, automation, aerospace, medical, machinery, and industrial.

CNC Turning service

Asianstar Professional CNC Turning Service

Asianstar CNC turning Service offers precision machining for a wide range of materials, including metals, plastics, and composites. With high level facilities and skillful operators, we can produce high-quality parts with tight tolerances and intricate designs.

Our CNC turning capabilities allow us to produce parts with diameters ranging from 0.5 mm to 480mm and lengths up to 450mm. We offer both single and multi-axis turning, as well as live tooling options for added complexity and accuracy.

We use proven processes and quality control measures to ensure that every part we produce meets our clients' specifications and expectations.

Whether you need a single prototype or high-volume production runs, our CNC turning service can provide the precision and reliability you need to get your project completed on time and on budget.

CNC Turning service

Components Sizes of Asianstar CNC Turning Service

Unit (mm) Min Max
Out Diameter 0.5 480
Inner Diameter (Hole) 0.3 465
Length 1.0 450
Groove Diameter 0.4 above
Thread M1.2 above

Components Tolerance of Asianstar CNC Turning Service

Unit (mm) Tolerance according to sizes
Height Tolerance Diameter Size 0.5 to 3 3 to 6 6 to 30 30 to 120 120 to300 300 to480
Tolerance ±0.003 ±0.010 ±0.020 ±0.030 ±0.035 ±0.040
Length Tolerance Length Size 0.5 to 3 3 to 6 6 to 10 10 to 20 20 to 30 30 above
Tolerance ±0.010 ±0.020 ±0.250 ±0.250 ±0.030 ±0.035

Components shape and position tolerance of Asianstar CNC Turning Service

Tolerance Class followed Tolerance (mm)
Straightness and Flatness Verticality Symmetry
10 10 to 30 30 to 100 100 to 300 300 to 1000 1000 to 3000 to 100 100 to 300 300 to 1000 1000 to 3000 to 100 100 to 300 300 to 1000 1000 to 3000
H ±0.015 ±0.02 ±0.03 ±0.05 ±0.10 ±0.15 ±0.02 ±0.025 ±0.03 ±0.035 ±0.02 ±0.03 ±0.04 ±0.05

Capability of Asianstar CNC Turning Service

Type of Turning Machine Diameter Size (mm) Length Size (mm) Productivity (PCS/Month)
Auto Turning Machine Simple Turning Machine Multi Turning Machine Pin Turning Machine Min 0.5 Max 480 Min 1.0 Max 450 200’000/Item


Multiple Machining Processes

Multiple Machining Processes

Asianstar has various machining processes to support different types of components from client, we can choose the best suitable manufacturing solution to carry result in perfect performance and cheap cost

Flexible Custom Service

Flexible Custom Service

With skillful machining technologies, Asianstar is flexible to support clients on different materials and different structures of the components, we also flexible on the components quantities and even assembly

Create Designing for Clients

Create Designing for Clients

Not only producing according to clients drawings, Asianstar also propose the better designing to clients, supporting clients to buildup improved designing or even new generation components

Standard Procedures

Standard Procedures

Asianstar production, as experienced by many years, is strictly following internal Standard Operating Procedures, to make sure the production schedule is smooth and plans are well carried out well without accidents

Standard Procedures

Standard Procedures

Asianstar strictly controlling product quality by system. We start QC controlling from production plan once setting up, to production process by monitoring QC checking and until the final Inspection before packing

Fast Lead-Time Delivery

Fast Lead-Time Delivery

Asianstar strictly control the production processes, teams keep the plan moving ahead according to the procedures, we have internal time management schedule which mostly bring earlier lead-time of delivery

Asianstar: Professional CNC Machining Supplier

From year of 2005, Asianstar Company establish the CNC Machining Factory in Guangdong Province, China.
We mostly provide CNC Turning, Milling, Drilling, Grinding, and Multi Machining processes service on various materials.
With the Belief of becoming a key supplier in the supply-chain of Precision Components, we strictly control our product quality, keep high precision on our components production, buildup the whole-process QC System and submit the satisfaction for every order.
By long term development, we have buildup partnership with world-wide clients, supporting our partners in Designing, Optimizing, Producing and Testing on each type of components.


CNC Turning Service

CNC Turning Service

Our CNC Turning Service provides different sizes of roll shape work-pieces, the diameter range is from 0.5mm to 480mm, reaching tolerance +/-0.003mm.

CNC Milling Service

CNC Milling Service

Our milling machines and CNC centers are able to produce complicated structure part, five-axis devices produce multi-sides at one-time jag which bring high precision result

Sheet Metal Fabrication

Sheet Metal Fabrication

Our Sheet Metal Fabrication provides slicing, punching, bending, welding, painting and assembling for set products, unique tooling for each project to raise production efficiency

Aluminum Extrusion

Aluminum Extrusion

Our Aluminum Extrusion brings clients various shapes of aluminum parts, high efficiency for mass quantity, our precision extrusion mold control tolerance within 0.01mm

Forging Service

Forging Service

For some steel serious products, we apply Forging Service to make out their outer shape and them use CNC devices to start drilling, forming, rolling, cutting, etc.

Finishing Service

Finishing Service

Our Surface Finishing Service uses chemical or electro post-treatments after machining tasks are finished, normally includes Oxide, Anodizing, Passivation, E-Plating, Painting,etc.


  • Q1.Do you support ODM/OEM?

    Yes, we support ODM/OEM, we provide custom-made service for clients or even support clients on designing or improving

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