Computer Numerical Control is a process utilized by the manufacturing industry. It uses the software to control the complex machinery and tools. The use of this software has made the manufacturing of modern equipment more precise and efficient.
Previously used methods of manual control which used hand wheels and levers did not produce good quality products. They also require trained labor to work on these machines. These factors made the use of manual methods not so beneficial.
The most common types of CNC machining are CNC turning machines, CNC milling machines, CNC lasers, electrical discharge machines, and plasma machines which use the burn tables for cutting.
Going into further detail CNC machines use G-code – that is a programming language used to control the CNC machines. The G-code is programmed according to the machine specification. It helps the machine determine the operating speed, tool coordination, feed rate, and location.
The G-code is coded in a sophisticated computer that is part of the control panel. The operator sits in the control room and operates the machine. The computerized and automated process helps streamline different procedures that conventional machines typically do not do efficiently.
Benefits of CNC Machining
The digital design plan and autonomous processing of CNC nearly obliterates the chances of error and achieves precision up to 1/1000th of the measuring unit.
These machines can work 24/7 without stopping, so you do not have to worry about interruptions in production. They only need to be stopped for their routine maintenance.
The use of CNC machines has streamlined the manufacturing process. The user only needs to feed the digital template and then the machine can produce countless iterations of the product. It also increases scalability by making it affordable to produce the product.
The use of computer-aided design in CNC machines has made the production quality so top-notch that it cannot be reproduced by the most capable engineers on manual machines. They can produce the product in any size, shape, and texture as long as the design template is available.
Labour Requirement Reduced
CNC machines are fully automated, their functionality does not require much human input. The only input needed is the design template. This makes several CNC machines to be operated by a single operator while a programmer feeds the needed designs. On the other hand, a manual machine will require skilled operators to operate different parts of the machine and a supervisor to make the process run smoothly. You can save manpower and transfer the cut in production costs to your customers.
The production of a uniform product can be a deal-breaker for your client so choosing a CNC machine is your best bet in the manufacturing industry. The components produced by these products are consistent and have zero variations in specifications.
When you have a process that is high speed, efficient, precise, and most importantly requires less labor it results in reduced costs of production. This brings a competitive edge to your business against other market players. You can save money on production and make more money by increasing scalability.
The use of manual machining has its benefits, but it has the element of human error lingering all the time. Manual machining can be interrupted due to many factors such as shortage of staff, having workers on vacation, or operators who are not proficient in work. CNC machines have no such factors to deal with so fewer issues.
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Safer To Work At
The operator of a CNC machine works from a control room which is at a safe distance from all the cutting, drilling, rolling, and heating tools of the machine. But on the contrary, manual machining is done in close proximity to drills, cutting tools, and punches. This makes them less safe to work with even after taking all the necessary safety measures.
Easy Retrieval Of Design
The retrieval of design in a CNC machine is easy and you can recall previous design templates without any hurdles. You do not need to keep the backup of the file on any external storage device. The object can be reproduced to the same specifications. In case an operator changes you do not need to worry about changes in the product specification.
The CNC software can be updated by over-the-air updates. The firmware, additional data, and any changes in functionality can be easily updated. Other than software updates the CNC machines do not require much service to their hardware components. The cutting implements might need to be serviced or replaced but that does not require a professional.
CNC machining provides versatility and greater adaptability. You can create any object/component in it. You can select between different tools through a user interface. These machines have become less technical so they can be operated with greater ease.
The Disadvantages Of CNC Machining
CNC machining is only disadvantageous because of its initial cost. But the cost will be overcome by long-term savings and efficiency. It will also help you build a reputation for quality and reliability in the market.
Another disadvantage that is affecting the industry is that CNC machining is making manual machining obsolete or in other words, it is making it useless for the operators of manual machining to acquire skills. But some experts argue that these skills will not become irrelevant and manual skills will be useful in producing small-scale specialty projects.
Should You Get One
The decision of getting CNC machining for your business will depend upon the scale of your work, the quantity, and quality you need, and the capital you have. CNC machining is best for large-scale manufacturers who want to achieve scalability. CNC also allows greater variability and can handle a variety of materials.
On the other hand, fused-deposition modeling is another available option. Its example is 3D printing technology. 3D printing technology is relatively cheap and for businesses that produce prototypes. It has limited types of material that can be used in producing the components. This technology has its limitations and it is still being developed.