14 Benefits of CNC Machining and CNC Milling

14 Benefits of CNC Machining and CNC Milling

Over the years, there have been many advances in manufacturing processes. The Fourth Industrial Revolution has led to one of these in the form of CNC machining and milling. The initials CNC stand for Computer Numerical Control. CNC machines or computer numerical control machining is a manufacturing process that involves the use of core-programmed computer software.

Compared to manual machining, CNC machining improves efficiency and accuracy, makes production faster, and leads to safer and cheaper manufacturing.

As you might expect, there are disadvantages as well. We’ll look at both the advantages of CNC machines and the disadvantages of CNC machining so you can decide for yourself whether it’s something you’d like to take advantage of.

CNC Machining Overview

CNC Machining Overview

The CNC machining and CNC milling processes uses a machine and tooling that’s controlled by a numerical software program. The computerized controls and cutting tools remove material from a workpiece. The result is a custom-designed part.

The CNC machine has a table that rotates or moves the workpiece on different planes. CNC milling machines convert a 3D CAD model into a series of computer instructions. These dictate the action of the machine and tooling and move the workpiece automatically.

CNC milling and machining is used in many industries, for example:

  • Automobile
  • Aerospace
  • Medical equipment
  • Agriculture
  • Construction
  • Dental
  • Firearms
  • Electronics
  • Metalwork
  • Publishing
  • Production
  • All types of manufacturing
  • Transportation
  • Hospitality
  • Woodworking

Using this method manufacturers can create extremely precise made-to-order parts.

What are the Advantages of CNC Machines?

What are the Advantages of CNC Machines

CNC machining has become very popular across a wide range of industries for many reasons. In many cases, the many benefits have led to manual equipment being replaced completely. Some of the main advantages of CNC machines are as follows.

High Precision and Accuracy

Possibly one of the most significant benefits of using CNC machining compared with manual operations is that it’s possible to create parts that meet specifications exactly.

With CNC milling, the possibility of human error is eliminated, because the machines rely on computer instructions for fabricating parts. However, there is still some control over the manufacturing process by the operator of the CNC machine.

The accuracy of the CNC milling project depends very heavily on the operator. It is down to the operator to control the operating environment and tool calibration. They also need to be able to recognize when the tooling is getting too dull and unable to create the optimum results.

It’s relatively easy to achieve tolerances as small as 0.004mm and create complex parts. However, it’s worth pointing out that not all CNC machines are created equal. Not all CNC machines are capable of creating high-precision parts.

Defense and aerospace industries rely on high-precision CNC machined parts. Being able to create such precise parts according to specifications could save lives.

Endurance

Manual machining processes can only continue as long as there are skilled workers present to work the machines. When a worker needs to take a break or go home at the end of their working day, the manufacturing process stops

However, CNC machines can keep going 25 hours a day, 365 days a year. It depends on the project’s design, but in many cases, the operator can program the machine’s computer and set it to create the required part over and over again, as many times as is necessary.

Because less human intervention is required than manual machining, fewer workers are required and machine shop production can increase.

CNC machines also allow for quick production changes. If a small number of parts are required, the operator sets the machine for the small order and once that is completed, they can change the CNC (Computer Numerical Control) program for the next run of parts. Such flexibility means a CNC machine shop can complete many orders, including individual prototypes right through to large batches of identical parts.

CNC machine endurance is further improved by their need for minimal maintenance. Looking into the future, Internet of Things technology that is just over the horizon could mean that CNC machines use sensors to keep track of the level of wear on various parts. When wear is detected, the sensors send signals to the operator. For the operator, this means they don’t have to wait for the machine to break down before they do something.

It’s also possible that the IoT could integrate CNC machines with other technology, particularly robots. The removal and packing of the finished product could be taken out of human hands completely.

High Production and Scalability

At the point when the operator has programmed the machine with the necessary design specifications production can take place. Once the CNC machine has started a production run, it can produce many identical parts in no time at all.

As well as producing large numbers of parts, modern-day CNC machines are also very scalable. What makes them very different from other conventional machines and manual production processes is that the machine can be programmed to produce one single item or large quantities. There are no limitations to the number of parts you can manufacture, thereby allowing companies to use their resources and finances more efficiently.

Speed

When CNC machines are used operators can be much more efficient because the machines can be used on their fastest settings. CNC machines can run 24/7 without running out of steam. There is no need for the machine to take a break for coffee or lunch. No holidays need to be booked or any kind of time off. There are no trade-offs with a CNC machine.

Such benefits, together with the ability to maintain high levels of accuracy and minimal waste of material resources, make CNC machining and milling one of the best ways to ensure production is efficient, fast, and scalable with no cost liability.

When more conventional milling methods are used, an operator is often required to manually operate the machine and change tooling depending on the required cutting operation. This can be exceedingly time-consuming along with being inefficient.

Amazing Capabilities

A typical CNC machine will feature rotating carousels. These can hold as many as 30 different tools which can be exchanged automatically during CNC milling and machining operations.

When CNC milling machines are used in combination with advanced design software they can produce complex shapes that cannot be matched by a more conventional manual machine.

Even a skilled engineer with years of experience won’t be able to match what a CNC machine with advanced software can do. A CNC machine can produce a workpiece of any texture, shape, or size.

Capable of producing even the most complex parts

The CNC machining process can create virtually any component you might be able to think of. These machines can perform a wealth of fabrication and CNC milling operations including shearing, flame cutting, punching holes, and welding metal sheets.

Because of the incredible precision, CNC machines offer, they can be used to produce shapes of extreme complexity.

Supports a Wide Range of Materials

CNC machines are compatible with a range of materials such as composites, metals, carving foam, rigid foam, phenolic materials, and plastics.

When it comes to choosing the right CNC milling material, factors such as design tolerance, fastening, hardness, stress resistance, and heat tolerance have to be taken into account.

Less Dependability on Human Labor and Fewer Human Error

Less Dependability on Human Labor and Fewer Human Error

CNC machines are precision turning machines that operate autonomously. No manual intervention is required which bypasses the possibility of human errors.

Software programs and codes govern the end-to-end CNC machining process and the machines can deliver great accuracy and are flawless.

Uniform Product and Design Retention

Input is immutable throughout the production process, no matter how many cycles are performed. Unless any changes are made deliberately, the final products are consistent.

Make Digital Simulations of Prototypes

Simulations of prototypes are possible using CNC machining and milling. This allows manufacturers to check the efficacy of the program before it is put into full-time production mode.

Lower Costs

While the initial cost of a CNC machine may be high, they more than make up for this with their high rate of output, minimal number of mistakes, and low production costs. Less training is required which is a further cost saving. Operators can also learn how to use CNC machines virtually which eliminates the need for training workpieces.

Improves Safety

The only interaction an operator has to make with a CNC machine is to enter the code and maintain the machine. Apart from that, the process is entirely automated. Operators don’t have to put themselves anywhere near the cutting tools which makes these machines inherently safe.

The introduction of CNC machines into the manufacturing industry has led to a decrease in occupational health and safety accidents. While a CNC machine may not be as simple to operate as a cordless drill, with some training and practice they are relatively simple to use.

Low Maintenance

The final point in the list of advantages of CNC machining is that they typically require minimal levels of maintenance. Generally, the service is changing the cutting implements at the right interval and a small amount of light cleaning. Regular maintenance can be performed in-house without the need for professional servicing, thereby saving money.

Full Mobility Will Hit The CNC Industry

Just as an individual can now access the internet no matter where they might be, soon the potential for a completely mobile CNC machine will become a reality.

Currently, there are CNC machines that can be used at home to cut materials such as wood, plastic, and metal while sitting on a tabletop. In manufacturing facilities, CNC machines provide the ability to fully automate the process in order to address a complex project.

What are the Disadvantages of a CNC Milling Machine?

As you might expect, alongside the advantages of CNC machining, there are a few disadvantages that it’s only fair to mention.

Cost

CNC machines tend to be more expensive and require a larger initial investment compared to manual machines. However, as these machines become more widely available and used, supplies will increase, and costs will go down.

Skills Loss and Unemployment

An element of skills loss comes with the increased use of CNC machines. Fewer manual machine operators are required, fewer new students have to be trained in these skills, and eventually, it could result in a total loss of the skills required for manual machining and milling.

Not Enough Qualified Technicians

While the machining process is automated, on the whole, highly trained technicians or engineers are still required to program the machines, make calculations, and supervise the machining process.

Not every machine shop can find these highly trained operators to run the machines, which can lead to low-quality machined parts.

Increased Material Wastage

CNC machining is a subtractive manufacturing method. The process starts with a block of material from which portions are cut away until the finished product is left. The result is an increased amount of material wastage compared to additive manufacturing processes like 3D printing.

Is CNC Machining Better Than Conventional Machining?

Is CNC Machining Better Than Conventional Machining

As you can see, there are lots of CNC machining advantages. If you’re considering adding CNC machines to your manufacturing process, here are some of the reasons you may or may not want to:

  • CNC machining services require no extensive skills or experience
  • Products can be replicated thousands of times
  • Less labor is required to operate CNC machinery
  • CNC software makes your production options more versatile
  • With CNC machines there is no need for prototypes
  • CNC machining fits the skills of modern workers
  • CNC machining uses oil-based coolants that result in a better quality finish
  • CNC machining services create lighter and stronger parts with the help of complex geometry

There are many CNC machining advantages compared with conventional machining. These include greater design freedom, higher accuracy, and finer features.

Conclusion

Now that you’ve reached the end of this post you can appreciate that precision-turned components from CNC machines are of higher quality than those from manually operated machines.

In addition, they offer other advantages of CNC machining that will give a company a competitive edge and help them stay ahead of the competition.

3ERP provides cutting-edge CNC machining services and CNC milling services that boosts your company’s potential and supports its continuous development. From a single project to one that requires hundreds or thousands of parts, 3ERP specializes in quick delivery in as few as 10 days.  Precise, accurate, fast, and affordable try 3ERP today and see how your ideas can blossom into reality. Contact us today for more details.


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