In today’s ultra-competitive market, CNC machining has become a reliable way of helping manufacturers improve their efficiency and bottom line. It’s a technology that has optimized and simplified a number of manufacturing processes. However, despite its popularity and importance, it’s not a manufacturing technique that everyone is familiar with. In today’s article, we are going to look at this awesome technology and some of the reasons why CNC machining is preferred over traditional machining.
If you are in the Greenwich, New York, area and are looking for metal fabrication services — CNC machining, laser cutting, robotic welding, metal bending, sandblasting, and more — contact Fort Miller FAB3. The experienced team at our metal fab shop is ready to help you accomplish all of your manufacturing goals.
CNC machines, which stands for computer-numerical-control machines, were first developed around the 1940s — however, as we mentioned in a recent post, there are other seminal inventions that made this possible. These early machines utilized punch-tape technology, which paved the way for analog and digital computer processing in the following years. Learn more about the history of CNC machines here.
How Does It Work?
In general, machining is the process of transforming a stock piece of material — e.g. a block of plastic or sheet metal — into a final product through controlled material removal processes. CNC relies on the digital instructions passed on from a computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) or computer-aided design (CAD) file. Interpreting these design instructions, the CNC machine is able to rapidly and precisely perform certain labor-intensive functions. Basic machines are able to move on the x,y, and z axes, whereas more advanced machines can also flip parts over, allowing for a more comprehensive transformation without the need for manual intervention.
Advantages of CNC Machining Over Traditional Machining
Once you understand the basics, operating a CNC machine doesn’t require absolute mastery. After you have your design, the CNC machine will do most of the heavy lifting. Compare this to a conventional machining technique, which requires deep technical knowledge and a constant focus. In addition to this, there are many other key benefits. Below are a few of these.
As we all know, when it comes to mechanical detail, it’s nearly impossible to compete with the level of precision that machines can deliver. For example, precise detailing by processes like drilling and 3D carving is repeatable and consistent.
Repeatability is one of the top benefits of CNC machined parts. Even when tackling mass production, the help of CNC machines gives you the same level of consistency over and over.
One key advantage of CNC machines is that they are machines. Or in other words, they can work 24/7 without breaks and minimal maintenance. This means less downtime and optimal productivity.
Most CNC machines are remarkably versatile. Many secondary operations like lathing, milling, drilling, etc. can be done all from the same machine. Having this versatility allows for seamless transitions between processes, which is something that is not really possible with conventional machining techniques.
When you take into consideration all of these advantages, it’s not hard to see how your operational costs can be drastically reduced when using CNC technologies.
Types Of CNC Machines
There are many types of CNC machines. For the most part, these machines can fit into one of two categories: conventional and novel machining technologies.
Convention CNC Technology
- CNC Drills
- CNC Lathes
- CNC Mills
- CNC Routers
Novel CNC Technology
- Electrical Machining
- Other Cutting Mediums (plasma cutters, water-jet cutters, laser cutters, etc.)
What Types of Materials Are Used In A CNC Machine?
CNC machines are capable of working with a wide variety of materials. This is one of their key advantages. Common materials include aluminum, brass, copper, steel, wood, foam, fiberglass, polypropylene, and other plastics.
Where Can I Find Expert-Level CNC Machining?
Based in Greenwich, New York, Fort Miller FAB3 is proud to have a vast service area including New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine, Delaware, and Connecticut. Whether you need to mass-produce on a regular basis or simply pump out some accurate prototypes, we leverage our expertise and CNC machining technology to deliver unrivaled results. Learn more about us, our services, and schedule your consultation today!