Sliding Headstock Lathe

CNC sliding headstock lathes from TRAUB are designed for exact and productive manufacturing of long and slim parts with a maximum diameter of 32 mm.

Sliding Headstock Lathe Machines

The multitude of variants, miniaturization and precision of the workpieces are but a few of the demands on a CNC swiss turning centre. The TNL-series is characterized by high performance in combination with easy setup and programming.


How does the automatic sliding headstock lathe differ from the traditional lathe?

An automatic sliding headstock lathe, also known as a swiss lathe, first originated in Switzerland to help meet the demand of the booming watchmaking industry.

The automatic sliding headstock lathe differs from a traditional lathe in a few ways as listed below:

  • The stock can rotate in the collet as well as move axially, i.e. in the z-axis. The stock is held in place by a chucking collet and then moves through a guide bush where it meets the cutting tool. This innovation is the main reason why swiss lathes are so accurate. The workpiece moves out to meet the tool, which means that the lateral force experienced by the part is significantly smaller due to the reduced moment arm. This, in turn, allows for highly accurate machining.
  • A secondary or sub-spindle opposite the main spindle can be used to hold the stock in place after it has been parted off the parent material. This then allows operations to be performed on the previously unreachable back of the part. Once the part is complete, this spindle then deposits the part into a part receptacle.
  • Live tools can be used in place of traditional lathe tools which then allow for drilling and milling on the sides of the part.

Is a sliding headstock automatic lathe right for you?

Kingsbury offer highly advanced 6 spindle sliding headstock automatic lathes which provide unparalleled production efficiency and functionality by allowing for multiple parts to be machined simultaneously. These machines are typically used to manufacture high quality watch components, electrical fittings, medical and military components. If you require high production rates of small components, at predictable tolerances, then a sliding headstock automatic lathe is what you need to take your company to new levels of productivity and profitability.


The material moves axially into the tools which are held into place on a gang slide. The tools held in these gang slides can be either fixed tools or they can be live tools. A live tool is essentially a small spindle that can hold drills or milling tools, that allow for milling and drilling work to occur perpendicularly and along the axis of the stock. The gang slides can contain tools on two sides which allow both the front and rear of the part to be worked on.

SHW spindle

Traub TNL32-11 reverse attachment cuts turn-milling times.

The Traub TNL32-11 is a new addition to the German manufacturer’s auto...

Advantages of a sliding headstock automatic lathe


A sliding headstock automatic lathe is a highly versatile machine that is designed for efficient and accurate production, with fast cycle times. Listed below are some of the key advantages of a sliding headstock automatic lathe:

  • Accurate – Sliding headstock automatic lathes are known for their extreme accuracy and precision. They can machine thousands of components to very tight tolerances and at the same time maintain these tolerances on part 1 just as well as part 1000.
  • Production – Sliding headstock automatic lathes can produce complete parts without much interference from a human operator. The material is loaded into a bar loader and the machine then automatically loads the material through the guide bushing where it is pushed out to be machined. The required operations are performed based on the CAM setup, and once the part is done it is ejected into a part receptacle. The process will then continue as long as the bar feeder is kept loaded with stock.
  • Small Parts – Sliding headstock lathes were specifically designed to produce small parts that traditional lathes would not be capable of machining.
  • Tooling – Typical sliding headstock lathes can carry up to 20 tools or more, with more advanced machines having automatic tool changers which can dramatically increase the number of tools available. This means that tools do not need to be changed every time a new part is to be machined.
  • Multiple operations – Sliding headstock automatic lathes can engage the material with multiple tools at once allowing for complex operations. An example of this is both a pre and finish turning operation happening at the same time. This also dramatically reduces the time required to manufacture the part.
  • Heavy cuts – Due to the material being supported so close to the guide bushing, heavier cuts can be taken without the part deflecting, this is yet another speed benefit for these types of lathes.

Get in touch

If you have any questions about our machines, or interest in setting up a new machining process. Our expert team are more than happy to help.

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