The popularity of CNC machines has been increasing steadily over the years.
This is probably because of their extensive benefits, which help both small and large manufacturing firms to meet their demands. Unlike conventional machines, the CNC machines are highly automated, thus, reducing the labor intensity requirements for different firms. They also have a multi-axis linkage, which helps manufacturers to be consistent in the production. Read on to know more about the CNC machining concept, and how it can help you increase production in your business.
CNC Machines Explained
CNC (Computer Numerical Control) machines are unique machines that use computer technology to produce products, machined parts, and other related items. The machines have a micro-computer inside them that controls the entire unit.
Users feed information into the minicomputer through a controlling unit that resembles a computer keyboard. The user can quickly write code or make changes to the already existing programs as per the company requirements.
CNC machines have a G-Code which provides better control of the speed, feed rate, location, and coordination. They give detailed and consistent results, and that is why they have managed to replace the conventional machines in many industries.
The machines were invented in the 1940s in the United States. During that time, they solely depended on a punched paper technology, which has evolved to be the current digital software.
How They Work
As mentioned above, the CNC machines have a micro-computer which the programmers use to feed information into the unit. The CNC machines work like a robot, as the computer understands all the exact cutting processes that it should carry out once the programmer inputs the cutting dimensions.
The popular manufacturing machines that you can use to run the CNC concept include drilling machines, milling machines, and Lathe. The primary purpose of these machines is to shape the irregular or poorly shaped metals, and that is why they are the best fit for the CNC machining concept.
The automation feature makes the machines very accurate. In fact, many industries that need precise results use the CNC to get their required results. The machine picks up the next task on its own, meaning that you don’t have to keep on making many inputs.
This way, the machines carry out the fabrication processes both day and night without many inputs or close monitoring. All that you have to do is provide enough materials and instructions before starting the operations. The machines, however, require expert laborers to operate and maintain them well.
Advantages of Using CNC Machines
Here are some of the benefits that businesses get from a properly functioning CNC machine:
A CNC machine is one of the most precise and efficient tools for designing materials in a manufacturing firm. The machines have quality assurance protection, which detects potential threats and shuts down immediately to prevent doing damages. Assurance protection also makes it possible for the machine to fix its problems internally.
CNC machines have fewer labor requirements, unlike the traditional manufacturing machines which require a team of employees to carry out the manual tasks. One operator can successfully operate several machines, and one skilled programmer can feed the machines with the required designs. Investing in the machines helps you to save on the labor costs, and this helps to gain a competitive advantage.
Lower costs of production
A well-functioning CNC machine can operate for an extended period without any flaws. With proper maintenance, the machines rarely break, and this means that you don’t need to keep on doing repairs. You only need to oil the crucial parts regularly and hire an expert to take care of the poorly operating parts.
The fact that the machines are automated means that the cases of getting work-related injuries are few. The employees do not interact with the machine directly; thus, the machine provides a safe environment for work-related activities.
CNC machines have a higher operating speed compared to the other manual devices. The high speed, combined with the accuracy, makes it possible to cut different metals or plastics within a shorter period.
Cost efficiency is the collective final result of speed, accuracy, and efficiency. The machines do not leave any room for mistakes, and this significantly reduces the costs of production. Besides, the fact that few employees can work on it means that you can save on the costs of labor. The machine is also easy to repair, meaning that you can fix most of the things and save substantial amounts.
The machines can work nonstop, including on holidays and weekends. The only time you can switch them off is when you do not have enough supply materials, or when you need to carry out your routine repair and maintenance. Their reliability endurance helps manufacturing firms to maximize their profits. The 24/7 operation can also save you the frustration associated with the absenteeism of employees or those who do not perform as per the company’s expectations.
Using the CNC machine alongside advanced design software brings out an incredible output that you can replicate with the manual machines. The combination of the software and the machine produces the needed shape, size, and texture that most gifted engineers cannot achieve with the conventional machines.
It is not easy to produce uniform outputs when using conventional manufacturing machines. CNC guarantees equal production in dimensions and all other features. You can, therefore, benefit from the machine if you require many products with similar specifications.
CNC machines are capable of retaining different designs once an excellent prototype has been created. The program derives the design easily; thus, you don’t need to keep on creating the same designs over and over.
CNC machines are highly versatile. The advanced models have unique accessories and features which not only simplify the production method but also make the programming method easier. For instance, some brands come with automated changers and touch screens.
How to Increase the Efficiency of Your CNC Machines
CNC machines are highly rewarding. You should, however, adopt the best tactics possible, and keep researching to learn more on how to utilize the CNC machines productivity. Follow the tips below to increase the efficiency and the productivity of your CNC machines:
Understand your power requirements before installing the machine
The fact that the CNC machine can operate on a 24/7 basis means that you should have a reliable power supply. So, if you run a large firm with high metal fabrication demands, carry out the necessary calculation to improve your power requirements. Regular power blackouts can cause inconveniences and interfere with your CNC machine productivity.
Consider the one time project
It is advisable to invest small before extending your CNC machines applications. Test the machine on a single unit of your manufacturing firm first. If the results impress you, go on and connect more CMC machines into the entire segments of your business.
Learn to multitask
CNC machines are automatic, and this means that your employees do not have to keep monitoring it as it operates. Instead, they should carry on with the other tasks as the machine operatives. You can motivate your employees to improve their performance by adding bonuses.
Maintain the machine regularly
CNC machines rarely break; hence, you might not repair them frequently. Nevertheless, it’s essential to inspect and maintain them on regular occasions. Regular inspection and maintenance helps in the early identification of potential threats.
Make use of a few CNC operators
Ideally, the number of operators or programmers to use the machine depends on many factors. It can depend on the size of your firm or the materials you use. However, few operators reduce the possibility of making mistakes or injuring each other. If possible, train a few employees to improve the efficiency of your CNC machines. The strategy will also improve your productivity, considering that the other employees will concentrate on other activities other than crowding on the CNC machines.
Applications of CNC Machines
CNC machines have extensive use. Here are some of the industries which can benefit by investing in the machine:
The medical sector heavily relies on customized products for their patients. The CNC machines provide a handy solution of the customizable products. It helps them to make implants, MRI machines, orthodontic devices, and other medical instruments.
CNC machines help the transportation firms to make materials used in the construction of shipping vessels, passenger rails, passenger trucks, vehicles, and many more. Brakes and engines are also CNC products.
Oil and gas industry
The oil industry relies on CNC machines when they want to make straight pipes and drilling rigs. Without accurate machines like the CNC, the valves would probably break or the pipes leak. The oil firms also use these automated machines to make pins, pistons, drill bits, and cylinders.
Aerospace is one of the most sensitive industries in the world. A single mistake on the construction process can lead to substantial losses, and that is why the aerospace experts heavily invest in the CNC machines. They use the automated machines to make electrical connectors, manifolds, landing gear parts, and antennae.
CNC technology is responsible for marine devices that stay afloat. The machines help the firms to make excellent boats, propellers, and insulating cases.
Electronic firms use CNC machines to make precise cables and connection wires. The machines also help them to make the tiny parts of computers and motherboards.
Metal fabrication firms
Metal industries use the machine to drill holes, cut the metals, and to reshape them in the desired shapes.
Wood manufacturing industries
Wood makers can use the machines to turn, mill, or even grind their wood. The machines also help them to cut the right wood sizes for their customized needs.
Choosing the Right CNC Machine for Your Business
A CNC machine is right for you if you need precision, accuracy, and speed in your business. It is also a suitable option if you deal with the complex metal shapes which need to be reshaped. You must, however, consider some aspects when purchasing, to prevent costly repercussions in the future. Here are crucial things to consider when buying a CNC machine.
The weight of the machine
The weight of the material largely depends on the type of material used. Most CNC machines are made of polymer composite, aluminum, and iron cast. The iron cast is the best material for the tough activities since it is more durable than the others. You can go for the other materials if you deal with lighter tasks.
The radius of your CNC machine should be slightly bigger than that of your working space. For this reason, you should get the exact measurements of your materials before you buy the machine.
The speed is commonly known as the feed rate. If the feed rate is of the essence in your business, choose a CNC machine with a highly adjustable speed that can meet your demands.
Just like any other appliances in your firm, a CNC machine can break down and require replacements. There are many brands in the market, and their parts slightly differ. Before you select any brand, carry out your due diligence to know how quickly you can get the spare parts.
Every CNC machine comes with its power requirements. Check out the specific power requirements of your desired machine and make the necessary changes in your workplace to accommodate needs.
A CNC machine is a valuable investment in almost all types of business. Its ability to create many materials other than wood and metal makes it the preferred option for firms that make customized products.
The machines are usually automated, meaning that you only need to feed in the instructions, supply the materials then leave everything else to the machine. It is fast, efficient, and accurate; thus, you can rely on it to minimize the production costs and improve your productivity.
You must, however, make the crucial considerations while buying it to purchase the best machine that will help you gain a competitive advantage in your industry.