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How to Choose the Right Center for Your Needs

One of the most common questions we come across from clients are what factors need to be considered when selecting the right center for a particular job. We’d like to help simplify and demystify the process.

Assuming centers of equal quality, what differentiates them is the application, capacity, and price. There are centers that are made for specific processes and specialty applications—spline-rolling, gear hobbing, gear grinding, heavy duty, etc.—and if you have a specific application; you will be able to find the right center for just that.

It’s when you get into a broader range of tools, where multiple live centers fit an application, that it can get a bit confusing. In these cases, pay attention to the workpiece weight rating, a.k.a. how much the parts weigh. Live centers with higher weight ratings have larger bearings, more capacity, and significantly longer lifespans than lighter duty tools.  Just remember: you don’t buy tooling and run it at the maximum weight; you want some wiggle room. You’re always better off buying a live center that has more capacity than your largest parts.  You get what you pay for when it comes to accuracy life.

Keep in mind that while specialty centers are designed for specific applications, the 80/20 rule applies: 80% of applications fall within similar ranges, so there will be multiple centers that can work.

Selecting a Riten live center means getting quality and performance. But to help ensure you select the right one, here are some other factors to keep in mind:

  • Determine the machine’s taper—Morse Tapers are the most common, particularly in lathes, while Morse, Jarno and Brown & Sharpe Tapers can be found in grinders. Unsure? We can help.
  • Determine work piece weight and compare it to the capacity of the live center.  Consider cutting forces as well and leaving yourself a comfortable margin.live-multi-use-tn
  • Determine required operating speed. Most lathes don’t reach over 5,000 RPM’s, and most grinding machines rarely reach over 500 RPM’s.  The centers designed specifically for grinders don’t perform well at the high RPM typical of turning applications.
  • Determine the point style that’s best for your application.

We have the largest selection of live centers in the industry, and the knowledge and experience to help guide you to the exact right one. Contact us with any questions and we’ll help you choose the best center for you.

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