CNC machining is a popular manufacturing process that has been gaining popularity with many manufacturers around the globe. It is faster, efficient, and versatile, three attributes that make for a good business. But why has it become such a hit with manufacturers? How does it compare with other types of manufacturing processes? These are some of the questions that we are going to explore as we look into CNC machining and what it is all about,, and how it has completely changed the face of manufacturing the world over.
Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machining is a modern style of manufacturing that is conducted by the removal of certain parts of materials from a solid workpiece using a special set of cutting tools. It is sometimes called subtractive manufacturing that involves removing parts instead of adding. CNC machining goes all the way back to the 18th century where the machines were purely mechanical and powered by steam.
The first time CNC machining was applied in a real life situation was in the 50s at MIT where an engineer programmed the first CNC machine to punch attendance cards for workers in a factory. This formed the basis for future models and with technology, CNC machines have now advanced to the point where they are autonomous. Thanks to these developments, the CNC machining process is linked with intense sectors like defense and military, the aerospace and automotive industries.
CNC machining is an automated process that makes use of technology to make work much easier and faster. The ability of CNC machines to be flexible has led to their assimilation and this has, in turn, led to their development that can be split into the following technologies.
CNC Turning: This is where the workpiece rotates, making the cutting tool follow suit, cutting out the required materials from the object in question. The flexible slide can be moved in any direction to allow for quicker removal of materials where desired. These moving center prices are called lathes, and they produce a smooth surface of the products they make.
CNC Drilling: This is the making of holes into hard surfaces of equal sizes and dimensions to fit bolts and screws of all sizes. The drills are hard enough to make holes into any surface without suffering any blowback, and the holes have to be clean without any flaws if they are to function later on. CNC drilling is fast, efficient and leaves very little waste behind.
CNC Milling: This is the removal of materials from a bigger workpiece through the use of multi-point rotary cutters. They usually come with stationary cutting tools with a table that moves the workpiece to create the desired cuts in a uniform way. This is usually used to add finishing touches on an already wired workpiece, and it adds features like pockets, lots, holes, and other addons.
CNC Grinding: This is where CNC machines are used to even out the surfaces of workpieces once they are made. It is used due to its precision which reduces the chances of the grinding being overdone or underdone. It makes use of a spinning disk to make slight cuts and grooves depending on the design you are working on.
EDM: Electrical Discharge Machining is a process that makes use of electrical sparks to erode and shape the surface of a workpiece. Aided by a computer program that controls the intensity and frequency of the sparks, the method is best suited for materials that may prove to be too hard for other machining techniques to handle. It doesn’t require heat treatment or softening of surfaces for it to work.
CNC machining is heavily utilised in a number of applications in the manufacturing space. Almost every factory complex that has automated its production has CNC machining as part of their roster in one or another. The following are some of the common applications of CNC machining.
Injection Molding: This is a process that involves the injection of molten raw materials into a preset mold to create a specific shape. It is a very reliable method of produce =ing identical items in huge volumes as it generally takes between 10 seconds to 2 minutes to produce a single item depending on the size. Injection molding is used in making consumer appliances, electronics, and other domestic daily use products. CNC machines can now handle injection mold making with increased speed and efficiency.
Aerospace Parts: Airplanes are made of so many parts that are made separately before being assembled into a single machine. These parts have to be of the same make, mold and measurements for them to fit into each other without any room for errors. The only way to pull this off is through CNC machining. The parts made through this process are long lasting and meet the strict safety standards that are enforced on a global scale.
Automotive Industry: The automotive industry is one of the biggest on the planet, and since cars are used by people on a daily basis, safety is a priority. The best way to ensure that every manufactured part works as designed is through the use of well-made and solid parts. This is where CNC machining comes in as it is the most reliable way of making dependable parts that can be used to make cars and other vehicular components.
3D Prototyping: The creation of 3D models using CNC machining is not something that has been around for long, but as the technologies behind these two process develops, it has become easier to integrate them into each other and this has not only increased the quality of the products made but has also brought down the cots. Some of the industries benefiting from this include the healthcare sector where the demand for accurate 3D printed prosthetics is very high.
Consumer Electronics: Electronics are some of the most widely used components by people. But they can be dangerous if they are left exposed. To make them safer, better covers and insulations have to be made, and CNC machining is the best way to get the right dimensions without wasting too many materials in the process. Consumer home appliances like plastic containers and furniture of all kinds can also be made with CNC machines.
Defense Industry: The defense industry is always in need of reliable machines, high-quality, and this includes vehicles, weapons, and other equipment necessary for soldiers to carry out their duties. CNC machining is the only proven way of making high quality parts that can be used as replacements when the need arises. This makes CNC machining very essential.
CNC Machining continues to grow and expand into all sectors of manufacturing and every prediction indicates that it will take on a central role in the future of manufacturing. Although the costs of setting CNC machining in the initial phase are very high, once companies adopt them, the profits made quickly offset the investment. It is a worthy choice to go with. For more information on CNC machining, make sure you check out our website and send in all your questions and concerns for our qualified team of experts to handle them for you.