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Vertical Turret Lathes

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Definition: Vertical Turret Lathes

Vertical turret lathes, as well as boring machines, are one of the biggest machine tools. This special kind of lathe cuts heavy workpieces. A common feature to all vertical turret lathes (whether CNC or conventional ones) is the lying faceplate, which rotates on a vertical axis. They are offered as single or double column in compact design, and as single column in open design. Each of them has advantages and disadvantages, e.g. regarding rigidity. The most important parameters that must be considered to buy the proper lathe are the faceplate diameter, the swing diameter, the turning height and the turning diameter. At Surplex you will find used vertical turret lathes from WALDRICH, FRORIEP, DÖRRIES and other leading manufacturers!

Buying and selling used vertical turret lathes on Surplex


  1. What are vertical turret lathes?
  2. The design and operation of a vertical turret lathe
  3. A brief history of the vertical turret lathe
  4. Areas of application of vertical turret lathes
  5. Whether to consider buying a used vertical turret lathe or not?
Used vertical turret lathe front view

What are vertical turret lathes?

The turret lathe is a type of metalworking machine used for the continual manufacture of duplicate pieces. More specifically, the VTL machine (vertical turret lathe machine) is a tool in which the traditional design of the horizontal version of the lathe machine is upended, thus enabling the headstock to lie on the ground, while the faceplate is turned into a horizontal rotating table similar to a giant potter's wheel. Vertical turret lathes are especially practical for the processing of heavy, large, short workpieces.

  • Processing of large and heavy workpieces
  • Workpieces are clamped onto horizontal faceplates
  • Used to build turbines, motors and generators
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The design and operation of a vertical turret lathe

VTL machines characteristically have a large faceplate, upon which the workpiece is clamped. In order to keep the workpiece balanced, it is clamped in the centre. The frame of a vertical turret lathe can either have one or two machine columns. There is a strong crossbeam formed between the two columns and it is used to support one or several tool slides. The two-column design of the vertical turret lathe is very robust and allows for high output torques. This means that up to three independently operated tools can be used simultaneously for the processing of one workpiece.

SCHIESS Vertical turret lathe in operation

This leads to a shorter processing time, of up to one day per workpiece. Hydrostatic bearings carry the heavy faceplates and can carry a workpiece weighing several tons. The operation of the working spindle comes from the vertical turret lathe table. Operation and control panels are usually located next to this big machine. The slide of the tool carriage and the hydrostatic bearings are centrally lubricated.

A brief history of the vertical turret lathe

The vertical turret lathe has a long tradition. Throughout the history, the requirements of the construction of power station plants, power generators, and engines made it necessary to develop a stable machine that can process big and heavy workpieces. Currently, there is a variety of supporting structures available as well. Automatic measuring of data and CNC-operation are common and are used to optimise the work processes. With a CNC vertical turret lathe, various data (for example, cutting force, surface quality, dimensional accuracy etc.) are continually being monitored.

Used vertical turret lathe tool unit

Areas of application of vertical turret lathes

The very compact and stable composition of a VTL machine makes it very popular in the heavy industry. Vertical turret lathes are primarily used in the production of turbines, engines, generators, and the manufacturing of big propellers and special flanges for industry. A vertical turret lathe can also be used for the maintenance of old cable cars, to restore the large pulleys used for the cables. In addition, a vertical turret lathe is often custom-made for special processes.

Whether to consider buying a used vertical turret lathe or not?

The cost of investing in this machine is relatively high and, therefore, most people decide to buy used vertical turret lathes, provided that they are suitable for the work to be carried out. On the other hand, contrary to the used vertical turret lathes, the brand new ones can be custom-made to fit specific requirements. Several manufacturers have specialised in the production of vertical turret lathes, some of which include GMW, PITTLER, DÖRRIES, CARNAGHI, WALDRICH, TITAN, SCHIESS, SEDIN and TOS. If you are on a tight budget, it may be wise to consider buying a quality used vertical lathe made by some of the above-mentioned companies and regularly offered at Our platform frequently organizes industrial auctions and sales of used machinery, where it is often possible to find a well-maintained used VTL machine for sale at a competitive price.

Used vertical turret lathe general view

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