Rotary table overview
The purpose of the rotary table is to clamp metal objects in place whilst they are being formed into the required dimensions by shaping tools. In their most basic form they can be found in the design and technology department of most schools, where they will be operated manually in conjunction with a drill press.
Due to the limited capabilities of drill presses and the fact they only move on one axis, such a setup can only be used to drill holes. However, when a rotary table is used with a more advanced machining device, such as a lathe or milling machine, the complexity of components that can be made is greatly increased thanks to 3 axes positioning.
In such instances the rotary table is controlled by a computer, using pre-programmed co-ordinates. Some rotary tables, such as the example seen above, also have 4th and 5th axes capabilities, which allows them to tilt; enabling the machining of items with even greater complexity.
What they are used to produce
The rotary table is used in all manner of manufacturing, from gun barrels to surgical instruments. However, it is perhaps in the manufacture of vehicles that the rotary table has had the biggest impact. The ability to manufacture metal parts with extreme precision has meant that safety has been greatly improved, with cars, trains boats and planes all benefitting.
As a result of improved safety levels, manufacturers have been able to make bigger and faster vehicles without putting the lives of passengers at risk. In addition, rotary tables have greatly increased the speed with which items can be produced, which is vital to meet ever increasing supply demands. Manufacturing costs are also greatly reduced, helping to keep price of vehicles and travel at affordable levels.
Shrinking the world
Quicker and cheaper travel has gone a long way to making the world a smaller place, which has impacted greatly on business, travel and many other areas. Without the invention of the rotary table; the world in which we live today would be a very different place, with vehicles and travel only available to the wealthy and fewer global corporations.