The Pros and Cons of Using Davenport Screw Machines

Davenport Multi Spindle Screw Machine produces high volumes of parts

A little bit of history…

When MSI was founded in the 1970’s, CNC machines were still being developed and were not as widely used as they are today. In fact, today’s machining industry seems to be made up entirely of CNC and Swiss machining. As MSI, we have both of those capabilities, but we also offer something unique. Since our founding, we have offered Davenport Multi-Spindle Screw machining services. At one time, multi-spindle screw machines were utilized in nearly every machine shop and were perfect for cranking out high volumes of parts in a relatively short amount of time. However, with the invention and growth of CNC machines, old manual machines, like the Davenport, have faded from memory. In fact, some of our own customers did not know what a Davenport machine was. We have found that most purchasers assume we are speaking about Swiss style screw machines when we mention we offer multi-spindle screw machining. In an earlier blog post, we described in detail just what a Davenport Multi-Spindle screw machine is capable of; you can read that blog post here. This article is to help educate readers about the pros and cons of these machines, as it relates to the machining industry today.

Pros of Using a Davenport Screw Machine

  1. Davenport machines are ideal for high volume orders. The Davenport is designed to be set up for a specific job and then run that job for months or even years.
  2. Davenport Multi- Spindle Screw Machines have one of the fastest cycle times of any turning machine ever produced. Davenports are 5 spindle machines, which means that there are 5 parts being machined at once. This creates cycle times as low as 1 second per part.
  3. The many capabilities and attachments available with Davenport Screw Machines make them a very versatile machine. Some of the capabilities and attachments include: cross drilling, cross milling, cross tapping, slotting, transfer slotting and keyway slotting, just to name a few.
  4. Davenports are designed to be easily repaired or rebuilt at a low cost.

Cons of Using a Davenport Screw Machine

  1. Setting up a Davenport Screw Machine can be an arduous process. Because of the nature and complexity of the machine, some set ups can take up to, and over, 18 hours to complete. A set up of this complexity just isn’t worth it for low volume jobs or jobs that will be run out in a couple of days. To justify the set up times, the Davenport really needs to run jobs that will last weeks or even months.
  2. While the Davenport offers acceptable precision, it is not as precise as today’s CNC and Swiss machines. If a part requires tight tolerances, tight precision or high surface finish, then a CNC machine will be needed.
  3. Knowledgeable and experienced Davenport operators are becoming harder to find. Davenport machines are very loud and very oily which makes younger people gravitate more to CNC style machines.
  4. Our Davenports are somewhat limited as far as the diameter of materials we can use and the overall size of each part. We can only run a maximum of 7/8 diameter material and the overall part length cannot exceed 4-1/2 inches (using a long bed machine). Anything bigger would require one of our CNC type machines.

Is a Davenport the best option to produce my parts?

When a specific part is a good fir for a Davenport Screw Machine it can be the best option for our customers. It is much more cost effective and efficient than producing the same order on one of our CNC type machines. We are always happy to take a look at your product requirements so we can advise you if a Davenport would be the best possible choice for your job.