Other news you will love
About agile methodologies 🔄
Explore the agile methodology to see if it fits you and your team's strategies
The shift to a decarbonised transportation sector
Understanding the shift towards Transport Decarbonization
The development of industrial designs is nowadays very straightforward, only a few tools exist and for complex designs, the process often uses the same machine, a CNC machine or Computer Numerical Control machine.
This article will explain what CNC machines are, why they are relevant and how you can use them.
To mold metals into complex shapes, production engineers don’t have a thousand ways to go. The classical way of producing a piece is to first make a numerical model of your product, then through specialized software send the data to a CNC machine that will create your part.
CNC assembly is a process of subtractive manufacturing that employs computerized controls and machine tools. This means that the machine produces various designs by removing layers of material from an initial block.
This process works with a wide range of materials, including plastics, wood, metals, glass, and composites. As the process can be very costly, this method is mostly used to create prototypes or very specific pieces like the ones found in aeronautics. It’s however rarely used to mass-produce products.
The process is often opposed to additive manufacturing processes that don’t work by removing layers of material but rather by adding layers of materials. Additive manufacturing, in contrast, concerns methods like 3D printing, or injection molding.
This process can create very precise features and provides high accuracy and is, therefore, a widespread method of production in precision engineering fields such as the aerospace domain and high-performance machines.
Let’s now look at the reasons why you might want to consider using a CNC machine:
CNCs are machines, they can work 24/7 with a little overview and at a much faster pace to deliver your product. You could increase your production without adding the need to recruit skilled labor resources.
CNCs do work faster than humans, this makes for higher production rates. Machines can also work long hours and produce many orders in much less time than labor-intensive manufacturing.
In manufacturing, every $ counts, machines are programmed to repeat the same tasks over and over again, if programmed correctly, your device should not produce the errors that a human could do, like cutting an aluminum board too short, or adding too much of a certain material, etc.
CNC machines are extremely precise, they can help you diminish your material waste, which saves you time on reworks, money by reducing waste and contributes to using fewer resources to make your product.
CNCs also provide more safety as operators don’t have to get close to the cutting tools. This is a win for both your business and your staff as there will be fewer safety accidents.
Introducing CNC into your business allows you to adapt to changing designs, new methods, and standards in the industry. You’ll be able to keep up with the changing requirements of manufacturing as well as the technology.
Once your CNC is up and running, it should take care of most of the repetitive tasks, this gives the rest of your labor, the opportunity to work on more complex tasks that require specialists.
Overall these CNC machines provide you with more efficiency, save you time and money. These machines do, however, come at a certain price, you have to do the calculations and consider whether or not you think it would be a worthwhile investment.
While the CC machining process offers various capabilities and operations, the fundamental principles of the process remain largely the same throughout all of them. The basic CNC machining process includes the following stages:
The process begins with the creation of a 2D or 3D solid part CAD design. A CAD design is a Computer-Aided Design that is entirely numerical and understandable by the different software your machines will use.
CAD software allows designers and manufacturers to produce models and render them as well as get information on the necessary technical specifications needed to make the part. This includes size, weight, different dimensions, and geometries.
CAD files can be converted into CAM files which are Computer-Aided Manufacturing files. This type of file can be understood by CNCs and sends out detailed instructions to the machine on how to create the initially designed piece. This includes details such as drill speed and height as well as the length of each operation and the various rotations that might happen. This type of software is largely automated, changing the details requires a certain experience as it directly affects the final result.
To prepare your CNC machine, the workpiece has to be secured into the machine using specific tools such as machine vises or machinery spindles. The drill bits and end mills are also important as they directly influence the final result and how long the operations are going to take and the precision of your product.
Your CAM software will now send out the instructions to your CNC machine, it will manipulate the drill bit to correctly carve out your piece. This process can be carried out in-house if the company invests in obtaining their CNC equipment, or outsourced to dedicated CNC machine service providers.
Today, CNCs are incredibly important as they allow for high precision that certain fields need like research and high-performance tools. They can work at very small levels, for long hours, and at high speeds. It’s no wonder that these machines are now extremely present. Knowing how they work and how to produce a part with them is now fundamental when coming into the manufacturing world.