The introduction of CNC technology (eg. numerically controlled machining) fast-tracked the development of many industries. Solutions used before that were efficient, but in comparison to the new technology – were not efficient enough.
Hand-lead machining or milling, even with templates or semi-automatized, is perfect for manufacturing small batches, but mass production can be challenging and time-consuming. Especially when precision and small tolerances are important. To this day these factors show the limitations of that technology. On the other hand: show the context of the revolution that was the invention and broad introduction of CNC machining technology.
That is why the technology of computer numerical control remains the foundation of contemporary manufacturing in almost every industry – especially focused on mass production.
What is CNC machining?
Automatized lathes or mills require an operator – a person who controls these devices to produce parts. By itself these machines cannot manufacture almost anything – the operator leads the turning bit or mill spindle in a way that can produce part of a desired shape and size.
That is why mass production of elements with such "traditional" devices is limited. One operator can work for a limited time, cannot control more than one device at a time, and can machine a limited amount of parts during one shift.
In addition – each part should go through the quality control that often rejects parts outside
the specification. Even a small deviation from the desired shape can make a part rejected. Such undesired elements are often re-machined or left for melting.
Numerically controlled machining (CNC) allows to increase the speed of the manufacturing process and makes the operator responsible for:
- creation of the right program for a controller (in other words: a program that includes a sequence of moves that the machine executes),
- selection of the right cutting tools for the job (eg. different bits for steel and polymers),
- maintaining a mill or lathe – but not leading the whole machining process by hand,
- putting desired material safely in the working area,
- sometimes – delivery of parts and controlling the supply chain.
The biggest advantage of CNC machining for industry is the repetitiveness of the manufacturing process. Well-calibrated mill or lathe can remove the material with high speeds much more efficiently than even the most agile operator – on its own and with minimal maintenance of the process.
In addition: once a machine is programmed it can produce big quantities of parts – almost without stoppages, sometimes (with automatized feeders) even 24/7. These advantages of the CNC technology brought efficiency to the manufacturing industry and allowed the production of high quantities of parts in a shorter time.
That development also influenced the quality of machined elements – due to minimal tolerances provided by CNC devices rejects are rare. It is worth mentioning that even the best numerically controlled machining tools need good software and the execution of a good set of commands (CAM).
Creation of such can be time-consuming – that is why CNC manufacturing for industries is cost-efficient above a particular threshold. Usually, it is estimated for over 100 identical parts in a batch:
- below that amount, traditional machining can be more cost-efficient,
- above it, CNC services can provide real cost optimization, and manufacturing another batch of parts is way easier.
What industries gain the most from CNC machining?
Obróbka skrawaniem dla przemysłu zawsze była wymagająca – kontrola jakości kończąca produkcję każdego skrawanego elementu była i wciąż jest najważniejszym etapem produkcji. Podobnie jak samo skrawanie ręczne – jest ona praco- i czasochłonna.
Między innymi dlatego technologia obróbki sterowanej numerycznie tak szybko stała się standardem w wielu branżach.
Wyroby CNC dla przemysłu, wytworzone dzięki technologii skrawania numerycznego, wykorzystuje m.in.:
Machining services for industries always were – and still are – challenging. Quality control remains the most important step of the whole manufacturing process. Just like traditional machining – can be time-consuming.
That is why minimal tolerances provided by CNC technology made it an industry standard almost overnight. The CNC machining services support industries like:
- automotive industry from the machining of engine parts (heads, blocks, pistons, cranks, etc.) to frames or wheels,
- aerospace industry – it is worth mentioning that CNC technology was created at the request of the US Air Force due to the requirement for a high precision of manufacturing. CNC helps to produce a vast variety of aerospace parts, from frames and construction elements to small and perfectly balanced jet engine parts,
- machine and parts manufacturing – CNC milling and other types of machining are key technologies to produce high quantities of parts,
- bike industry – the production of gears, chains, or whole frames became much faster and more precise due to CNC technology,
- medical industry - from specialized devices and accessories to more commons scalpels,
- military industry – minimal tolerances provide faster production of key elements of a vast variety of weapons (eg. turning barrels or machining whole lowers and uppers from one block of material) or fighting vehicles,
- furniture industry - utilization of the CNC machines increased the efficiency of production and allowed to speed up the further assembly of furniture,
- electronic industry - from PCBs to racks and almost everything in between (even processor manufacturing).
These are just a few examples of the practical utilization of CNC machining for the industry. Almost every (if not: every) industry uses CNC technology to some extent and appreciates the advantages delivered by it (like faster production of perfectly crafted parts or cost-effectiveness of mass manufacturing).
Manufacturing CNC products for industries - key advantages
CNC technology provides important solutions for many industries. Among many, it is worth mentioning:
- precision machining of created parts,
- possibility to assemble higher quality products that will last longer (due to minimal tolerances of machined parts),
- high speed of machining even big elements,
- very high repeatability,
- ease of relaunching the manufacturing of another batch of identical elements,
- and finally: the speed of production, important also from the perspective of rapid prototyping (although 3D printing technologies, also numerically controlled, are sometimes better suited for such applications).
Each of the listed features makes CNC technology a perfect solution for many industries, especially these which require minimal tolerances and high-speed manufacturing.
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