The Different Areas of Precision CNC Machining

Precision CNC machining has been one of the standout developments in manufacturing over the past few decades, helping to revolutionize the way that components and products are designed and created.

CNC, which stands for computer numerical control, refers to machines that utilize a pre-programmed code, in order to follow a sequence of tasks and steps in an automated manufacturing process.

This has a number of benefits over the previous method of manufacturing, which requires a human operator. Precision CNC machining can boast a number of advantages over this method, as it is cost-effective and faster, while also reducing the amount of waste material, providing higher reliability and offering much greater efficiency.

So, what are the different areas of precision CNC machining?

CNC Milling Machines

One of the most widely used areas of CNC is the milling machine, which utilizes cutters and other tools to drill and turn materials. Using pre-programmed code to ensure that the pieces are the exact dimensions and measurements required, CNC milling has largely taken over from human-operated machines in leading manufacturing companies.

CNC Routers

For more involved and complex tasks, CNC routers utilize multiple axes in order to cut and create different components. Often found with a 3 axis design, it is also possible to find machines that have up to 6 axes, for especially involved tasks.

CNC routers are another common area of precision CNC machining, while they also operate with no human input outside of the computer code provided, making them incredibly reliable and efficient.

CNC Lathe Machines

Lathe machines are also very prominent in the manufacturing industry, as it allows an automated version of the lathe to work unattended and with the ability to switch tools automatically. This greatly increases the speed of the task, while also improving the accuracy and ease of the operation.

CNC Plasma Cutters

A similar concept to using a CNC router, plasma cutters differ in that they use heat and magnetic fields in order to melt the material before cutting. This process allows the easy removal of any excess metal, ensuring a clean and highly accurate outcome.

Additional Precision CNC Machining

While this covers the most common areas of precision CNC machining, there are also a number of additional and ever-growing machine processes that are becoming automated through the use of CNC, helping to create a faster, reliable and more efficient manufacturing industry.

The Golden Age of Manufacturing

There is little doubt that we are currently in a golden age of manufacturing, with technological developments helping to make the industry more exciting and innovative than ever before.

So, what are the areas of manufacturing that are helping to shape the industry in a new, beneficial way?

Reason 1: Precision machining

There are few industry insiders who would disagree with the statement that precision machining has dramatically influenced the manufacturing industry for the better, perhaps more so than any other factor.

The automation of precision machining has blown the lid off previous efficiency, reliability and intricacy levels, that many never thought would come in their lifetime. Precision machining has also opened the doors to a more cost-effective industry, helping deliver results to their increasingly sophisticated clients.

Reason 2: CAD and CAM designed

Hand in hand with precision machining is the development of the software behind the process, which is commonly referred to as CAD (computer-aided design) and CAM (computer-aided manufacturing).

Gone are the days of manually-operated and time consuming machines being the chief method of manufacturing. Instead, components are designed on computer software, which is then translated into code and passed directly onto a CNC machine for completion.

This process almost entirely removes the chance of human error within the component creation process, allowing manufacturers to create extremely complex and intricate projects that can be delivered with speed and ease.

CAD and CAM software is also developing at a rapid rate, giving new and exciting abilities to designers and engineers, allowing them to create the innovative tools, equipment and products that we use today.

Reason 3: Global economy and competition

In a world in which it is becoming increasingly easy to conduct trade overseas, manufacturing has benefited greatly from these developments.

With the limits and barriers to trade being reduced by the majority of countries, manufacturing has taken on a truly global scope. Components can be created from all over the world, before being shipped to one location for assembly. This allows businesses to choose the manufacturing companies which best suit their requirements and budget, with the global field helping to provide competition and innovation, thereby reducing costs. Precision machining helps to level the playing field, making local manufacturing more cost effective.

The golden age of manufacturing is well under way and it looks set to continue into the foreseeable future, with precision machining leading the way.

Why Using a CNC Machine Shop Makes Sense

images2CNC, which is short for computer numeric control, is the process of using programmable commands to execute a precise and exact outcome, as opposed to a machine which is controlled manually.

Using a CNC machine shop for manufacturingcomponents has a vast number of benefits over the manual method, as we will now explore further.

Use of CAD and CAM

If you are creating a product, or component, then there is a high chance that you will use either CAD (computer-aided design) or CAM (computer-aided manufacturing) in the design process. In using these programs, you are able to generate a computer file containing all of the commands required to produce the component, which is then read and actioned by a CNC machine.

This computer file can then be passed onto a CNC machine shop, who can start creating the product right away, using the correct material, with little or no further information required. A CNC machine shop will also often have machines that are able to switch between different tools, such as milling, drilling, saws and routing, allowing this all to be completed in a quick, easy and efficient manner.

Easier replication

Once you have the CAD or CAM computer file, it is much easier to recreate multiple copies of a component. This is particularly useful if you are mass-producing an item, or if you have multiple components that must be the exact dimensions for them to function in the correct manner. With CNC machining, subsequent production runs will be exactly the same as previous runs for consistent quality.

Reduced errors

One of the main benefits in using a CNC machine shop is that the human input is reduced, meaning that there is less chance of an error occurring during the manufacturing process. While a manually-operated machine is only as good as the operator, you can be sure that a CNC machine shop will create the component precisely and with a much smaller margin for error.

More efficient and quicker

There is also no doubting that a CNC machine shop can produce components much faster and more efficiently too, as there is less human input and supervision of the process required. The overall production time is often reduced considerably.

As CNC looks set to continue its manufacturing dominance, any companies still using manually-operated machines are likely to be left behind by the competition, unless they upgrade in the near future.