Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machining has made waves in the manufacturing world. For many, this advanced technology is just what they need to create the necessary prototypes to test a design idea before going into mass production.
While many are aware that CNC is superior to other forms of machining, they aren’t aware of the logic behind it. Here are five major benefits of using CNC machining over other forms.
More Automated than Conventional
The main difference and benefit of using CNC machining over conventional production methods is that much more of the process is automated, reducing incidents of human error and opening up the opportunity to do more precision work.
The main function of machining is to be able to create something else from a block of plastic or metal. While both conventional and CNC machining are able to achieve these goals, the automation used in CNC makes the process more efficient. Faster speed, higher production rate, and less room for error make CNC machining more cost friendly for many businesses.
Varied Types of CNC Machining
There are various subcategories of CNC machining that offer users different methods and techniques. For example, CNC turned parts and CNC milled parts. During the CNC turning process, the raw material is turned as it’s developed, making it possible to create “complex external and internal geometries, including generating all kinds of threads.” (source: https://www.3erp.com/cnc-machining/).
CNC milling is better for making holes, slots, and repeated motions to create intricate 3D shapes. Milling is both versatile and easy to set up for repeating motions, and it is commonly used for plastic injection molding and diecasts.
Covers All Your Needs
There’s no tool of the trade that can handle everything required to meet all a business’s needs, but CNC comes pretty close. It can create curves and angles in what was once flat and smooth. It can add grooves and threads to create a locking mechanism. It can stamp and engrave, cut and drill, and add texture and contour. As it’s run by a computer program, you can customize it to do nearly anything you can imagine.
The computer programming process uses computer-aided design (referred to simply as CAD) to create a model of the end product. This acts as a rough draft to refer to as the process moves forward. It can also identify any problems with the design. The prototype is then photographed and fed into the machine, which will create a replica.
While human operators play a role in CNC machining, they do so from afar. The operators don’t have their hands on the machine and do their work from a computer station. This creates a safer work environment for all, reducing the incidence of workplace accidents.
This feature is especially important as complacency often occurs in human workers who endure repeated physical tasks. As an added benefit, you ensure the production of a uniform product that meets quality control guidelines every time. Human error caused by sleep deprivation is a common killer in workplace accidents; with CNC machining you don’t have to worry.
Easy to Scale
As the CNC machining process is efficient and computer led, it’s incredibly easy to scale up for large production. You just need to have multiple machines running on the same program you used for the initial prototype. For many businesses, figuring out how to scale up while keeping a healthy profit margin is a challenge. With CNC machining, it’s less so.
If you’re worried about reloading the program every time, don’t be. CNC machining has design retention capabilities so that you don’t have to re-enter the commands every time you produce a product.
CNC machining is the way of the future, and it’s many benefits make it an obvious choice for manufacturers. As technology advances, manufacturing processes can advance alongside, opening doors for exponential technological growth.