There are many ways in which machine tools can be classified. One classification based on production capability and application is given in the following lines.
General Purpose Machine Tools(GPM)
These tools are those designed to perform a variety of machining operations on a wide ranging type of components.
By its very nature of generalization, a general purpose machine tool though capable of carrying out a variety of tasks, would not be suitable for large production, since the setting time for any given operation is large. Thus the idle time on the general purpose machine tool is more and the machine utilization is poor. They are also termed as basic machine tools.
Skilled opeartor would be required to run general purpose machine tools. Hence their utility is in job shops(catering to small batch, large variety job production) where the requirement is versatility rather than production capability. Examples are lathe, shaper and milling machine.