We can all agree that there aren’t many products we use in everyday life that does not involve CNC machining. From cars, planes, household machines and appliances to medical parts and toys, all go through a CNC machine at some point during production.
Computer Numerically Controlled or CNC machining has become more versatile then ever. The number of axis has increased and the types of machines now available mean that increasingly smaller and more intricate parts are manufactured using a CNC machine. The development of CNC Machining has truly revolutionised the manufacturing industry.
It’s not just CNC machines making waves, further advances like laser and hydro-abrasive waterjet cutting combined with CNC, makes for an extremely versatile manufacturing machine with the ability to cut complex designs into almost any material.
Benefits Of CNC Machining
When it comes to producing complex parts in metal, or any other material, these computer controlled machine tools are ideal. This is mainly due to their high levels of accuracy, precision and speed. Still, the main advantage of CNC machining is the reduced production costs across the entire manufacturing process.
The digital template and autonomy of CNC machining nearly eliminate human error. It can achieve incredible accuracy within 1/1000th.
- Improved endurance of CNC machines mean they can work continuously, even weekends and holidays. The only time they stop is for maintenance or repairs.
- When design parameters and specifications are entered into a CNC machine, it consistently executes large quantities and offers flexible scalability.
- One can use CNC machines in tandem with advanced design software creating outputs that cannot be replicated by manual machines. Even the most skilled engineers with conventional machines can’t do what advanced software can do with CNC machines. These machines can produce any size, shape or texture as needed.
- CNC machining requires fewer staff to execute the production tasks. One skilled operator can run several autonomous CNC machines while one programmer can load the required designs.
- Uniformity in manufacturing is essential and CNC outputs match exactly. Once again, even the most skilled engineers will produce varying components on a conventional machine. Each part that the CNC machines produce matches the exact specifications of prototype.
- The combination of high speed, efficiency, precision and fewer staff add to a better bottom line for your business. Companies can use the subsequent lower costs to create a competitive advantage and the opportunity for business re-investment. Saving money or making more money is one of the popular benefits of CNC machining.
These are merely a handful of CNC machining benefits. Others include improved safety, design retention, low maintenance and incredible versatility.
Industrial Applications Of CNC Machining
While the large manufacturing machines are not cheap, there are smaller, more affordable variations. Not too dissimilar from home 3D printing machines reducing in size and cost, the CNC industry is also seeing a similar trend. The reduction in size has resulted in a wider range of applications. But before we digress and talk about CNC machines versus 3D printing, let’s look at the industries using CNC machining:
Metal Removal Applications
CNC machines are extensively used in industries where metal removal is required. The machines remove excess metal from raw materials to create complex parts. A good example is the automotive industries where gears, shafts and other complex parts are carved from raw materials. CNC machines are also used in the manufacturing industry for producing rectangular, square, rounded and even threaded jobs. These machines can control and carry out all processes, including milling, grinding, turning, boring and reaming, among others, using specific machine tools for each task.
Metal Fabrication Industry
Many industries require thin plates for different purposes. These industries use CNC machines for a number of machining operations to create these plates. They include plasma or flame cutting, laser cutting, shearing, forming and welding. CNC plasma or laser cutters are used for shaping metal, while CNC turret presses are used for operations like punching holes. CNC press brakes carry out other operations with very high-precision, including bending metal plates.
Electrical Discharge Machining Applications
Electrical Discharge Machines, or EDMs, produce sparks that remove metal from the raw material and burn away the excess metal. CNC automation carries out EDM machining in two ways – first through Wire EDM and second through Vertical EDM. The fabrication industry use CNC automated Wire EDM to punch and die combinations to create die sets. CNC automated Vertical EDM requires an electrode in the same size and shape as the cavity that needs carving out.
Industries Using CNC Machining
The versatility of CNC machines is incredible and they service a multitude of industries with aplomb. You will find them in wood working for various operations like drilling and routing. The aerospace industry, for example, favours CNC machining because it offers the five-axis option when needed. This functionality means they can manage hard-to-cut materials such as Inconel.
In healthcare or the medical industry, CNC machining is essential for micro-machining all the tiny parts made from all kinds of materials for various life-saving uses. Medical applications of CNC machining include parts for pacemaker or titanium joints or bones, not to mention tools and implements for medical professionals.
When you think of automation and machines, what comes to mind first? Many would answer the automotive industry and you’d be right. Just think of all the shafts, gears, pins and brackets that you find in all types of vehicles. From civilian cars, trucks to military vehicles, CNC machining is the answer to keep the production lines moving.
Other applications of CNC machining include the following:
- Food and Beverage
- Military and Defence
- R&D or Prototyping
CNC Machining At PRV Engineering
If you are looking for reliable and effective CNC machining services, look no further than PRV Engineering. As one of the leading engineering services based in the UK, we provide state-of-the-art CNC machining technology for a wide range of industries. These include food and chemical processing companies, the pharmaceutical industry, railway, military and defence as well as the automotive and aircraft industries.
We’d love to hear your thoughts on the development of CNC machines and any interesting projects you may have encountered. Please comment in the section below or find us on social media and remember to use #PRVtech. Please get in touch if you need assistance with your engineering or manufacturing projects.