11 Types of Machines Used in Metal Working Industries

1st Mar 2017

11 Types of Machines Used in Metal Working Industries

11 Types of Machines Used in Metal Working Industries

Whether you run a factory, machine shop, or metalworking shop, it’s vital that you invest in the right machines if you want to be successful in the metal working industry. Metalworking industries employ a wide range of different types of industrial tools to create metal parts that are of a desired shape and size.

These machines have evolved over hundreds of years, making it possible to produce the most complex shapes, and in a way that involves much less human effort. There are various techniques used by the fabrication industry that have led to invention and evolution of many machines.

With such a diverse selection of machines, it’s important to understand the different types and what each one can do. Fortunately, at Penn Tool Co., we’ve consolidated our expertise to provide this list of the 11 machines that are the most ubiquitous in this industry.

The 11 Most Widely Used Machines in the Metalworking Industry

If you work in a metalworking factory, then you know that the right industrial equipment is essential for producing high-quality products. There are a variety of machines that can be used in these industries, and each has its own set of advantages and applications.

These are the most common machines used for metal cutting and shaping operations in metalworking industries. Special purpose machines are also made for performing some specific operations on a specific product.

These machine tools are used for increasing the production rate.

1. Lathe Machine

Lathes are metalworking machines that rotate the workpiece to perform various machining operations. Lathes can be used to produce parts from ferrous and non-ferrous metals, plastics, and wood.

They are multipurpose machines that can be used to perform operations like cutting, sanding, knurling, drilling, boring, threading, facing, and turning. They come in various sizes, and with a range of accessories.

Lathes have been around since ancient times and are mostly used for precision work. They can be found in factories that produce light machinery parts, as well as machine shops and metalworking shops where heavy duty machines are present.

2. Milling Machine

The milling machine is a metalworking tool that uses rotary cutters to remove undesired material. The workpiece is held tight on the movable work table, about which a rotating tool can be moved vertically.

The two major operations that a milling machine performs is face milling and peripheral milling. In face milling, the operator mills a flat surface that’s at a right angle to the rotation of the cutter, whereas, in peripheral milling, the cutter is placed parallel to the workpiece.

They are used for a variety of purposes, from simple cutting to complex shaping and drilling. Because of this versatility, milling machines are a staple in most metalworking shops.

3. Grinding Machine

With a grinding machine, an abrasive wheel is made to rotate at relatively high speeds. The rotating wheel provides finishing to the workpiece by removing a very small amount of material along its surface, after which it becomes smooth to touch.

Grinders can be used to shape, flatten, and smooth the surfaces on pieces that have been cut with other tools, such as saws or lathes. Abrasive materials can also be applied to remove rust or paint from parts for repainting or refurbishing purposes.

The flexibility and precision provided by grinding machines make them an integral part of any manufacturing operation that involves metals.

4. Drilling Machines

Drilling machines are one of the most common types of machines that we commonly see around us in metalworking shops. They’re often used for various household repair works too.

The tools of a drilling machine are easy to install and replace which makes it really easy to use. They can be used to drill holes into a diverse range of materials, including metals, cement, and even concrete.

5. Shaper Machines

A shaper machine uses a single-point cutting tool that moves in a linear motion to perform a cutting operation on a workpiece. It has a simple mechanism and is easy to operate too.

These mills can be used to cut, shape, or form metal into the desired shape. They are typically mounted on a table which allows them to access all sides of the material.

One type of workpiece that benefits from these types of machines is sheet metal as they can easily create complex shapes such as an arc with just one pass. As you can probably guess, they see very frequent use throughout the industry.

6. Broaching Machines

A broaching machine cuts, forms, and shapes a variety of materials. It uses a toothed tool or a broach to remove material from the workpiece.

There are two types of broaching processes – linear and rotary. The more common of the two is linear broaching, in which the machine is placed in line with the workpiece. In rotary broaching, however, the broach is rotated as it’s applied to the workpiece.

Broaches are versatile tools that have many uses in a variety of industries. They create an array of different types of products for industry professionals who work on metalworking projects.

7. Saw Machines

There are three types of saw machines: the hacksaw, the circular saw, and the band saw. These machines are used to divide a metal piece into smaller parts.

Band Saw

The band saw is a great machine for cutting metal and wood. It can be used to create long pieces, such as pipes or solid bars, in any desired length and in large quantities.

Circular Saw

Circular saws, in both handheld and table saw variants, use a round blade that rotates or reciprocates to make the cut. The circular saw is one of the most versatile types of saw machines available for industrial operations.


Perhaps the most recognizable saw is the hacksaw. This hand-powered machine features a straight blade with many small teeth for cutting through various metal objects, such as pipes, rods, and even sheet metal.

8. Planer Machine

Planar machines are very similar to shaper machines. In fact, the only difference in this machine is that the cutting tool is stationary and the workpiece is made to move in a linear motion. Generally, these machines are also larger than shaper machines.

They’re used to reduce the thickness and size of materials like steel plates, bars, and rods by shaving off some excess material during machining processes. It’s also used to produce flat surfaces from rough or uneven surfaces.

9. Shearing Machine

A shearing machine is a one that is used for cutting sheet metal into desired shapes and sizes. One thing that makes these metalworking machines ideal for industrial shops is that the shearing process does not form chips or any residual material, reducing debris in the air and on the floor.

As with the other equipment on this list, shearing machines are vital for most industrial metalworking operations. Other major metal cutting operations that are similar to shearing are blanking and piercing.

10. Hobbing Machines

The use of hobbing machines in metalworking industries has drastically improved the quality and efficiency of manufacturing processes. They are a variant of milling machine that uses a special type of cutting tool for producing high-precision shafts, gears, splines, and other cylindrical parts that are needed for many different applications.

A typical metal working factory will have at least one or two hobber machines on site to meet their needs. They are relatively inexpensive and they typically only require a few people to run them while still producing large quantities of parts per day.

11. Drill Press

A drill press is a machine tool typically used in metalworking industries to perform drilling operations. It can be either hand-powered or electrically powered and often includes a work surface, called the bed, which allows the piece being drilled to be held vertically.

As a more reliable version of a hand-held drill, they have better stability than their counterparts. The workbench allows the drills to be made continuously and with exceptional accuracy.

The use of a drill press in metal working industries has been around for hundreds of years. A lot has changed since then, with new innovations that have made it easier than ever to complete metalworking operations quickly and efficiently.

Find the Most Trusted Metalworking Machines at Penn Tool Co.

As you can see, there are several types of factory machines that are widely utilized throughout the metalworking industry. However, while this abundance of choice maximizes the likelihood of finding the perfect tool for your operations, the sheer number of metal work tools and equipment can be intimidating.

Fortunately, at Penn Tool Co., we have decades of experience with all of the basic metal shop tools that this industry relies upon. Even better, we’re staffed with knowledgeable and collaborative professionals who are passionate about supporting industrial operations across the globe. If you want more information about the most trusted metal working shop tools on the market, reach out to our team today.