Since the first introduction of CNC machining, multiple industries and applications have radically changed. Even today, we see shifts as CNC machinery becomes more advanced and tackles new challenges. To say that CNCs changed the industry is underselling exactly how impactful these machines are.
How CNC Machining Changed Industry
Let’s review specifically how CNC machining changed different industries.
By reducing the amount of human interaction with a part, you’re minimizing the number of errors that can occur. Something as simple as incorrectly measuring for a hole could have turned raw material into waste. Now, the CNC machine does all the computing with less interaction from the machinist.
With fewer errors, machine shops will have less waste which improves their yield, saves them time, and boosts their revenue.
Higher quality parts are possible since the introduction of CNC machinery. As the machines become more complex, the parts become even more impressive.
A big aspect of this change is due to the repeatability of CNC machines. They can do the same sequence of operations 24/7 without fatigue — a feat that human machinists can’t achieve.
With higher levels of quality, industries can create better products. For manufacturers that make consumer items, this new level of quality might be the differentiator between them and their competitors.
Precision is perhaps the most notable change that’s associated with CNC machines. They can accurately locate and cut features to levels of accuracy that would take a human much longer.
With high-quality CNCs, the precision could be repeatable to just a few thousandths of an inch, depending on the feature.
Even marking a piece of material with a machinist’s rule can’t offer the same level of precision. The human eye can lead to issues with precisely measuring and cutting pieces, which is why CNCs are so revolutionary.
With higher levels of precision, more complex parts can be made. It allows designers to call for tighter tolerances, which could unlock a lot of design features.
Faster Turnaround Times
A machinist can set up a CNC to step through every cut in order to make a completed part. Once set up, the machine can run on its own.
High-tech options can automatically change tools, perform on-machine inspection, and load raw material automatically.
Overall, a CNC machine saves a lot of time. The time taken to create a single unit could be a fraction of the time it takes a human machinist to make the same part without CNC machinery.
As you add in more automation, the process becomes even quicker.
Faster processing times means that companies can create product quicker and meet the needs of their consumers. This lessens turnaround times and makes inventory management easier.
Running a CNC still requires some interaction with a machinist. However, there’s the potential for a single machinist to set up and oversee multiple CNC machines that are running simultaneously.
This is true if the CNC machine is running its own program. The machinist would just have to unload the machined unit, move parts around, load in raw material, and do inspection tests.
It’s very common for larger machine shops to have more CNC machines than machinists. With a leaner workforce, companies have to pay less in labor costs, allowing them to shift their focus on other process improvement projects with this freed up money.
Ability to Create Complex Parts
Some CNC machines have the ability for the cutting head to move along 6 different axes. This allows the machine to create complex parts that would take a machinist countless hours to replicate without a CNC.
In fact, you’ll see a lot of artists making their complicated sculptures with CNC machinery.
With CNC machines, designers have more freedom with their designs. Companies can fill gaps in their processes that were previously impossible due to design constraints.
Quickly Create Backups
Since CNC machines are repeatable, fast, and relatively easy to run, companies can easily make multiple units of the same part. This means that an operation can create a production unit, a spare, and plenty of backups.
This relieves the future headaches associated with parts breaking. Replacement can happen much quicker if a spare part is already on the shelf.
Even though CNC machines are revolutionary, it still takes a certain level of experience and knowledge to correctly run these machines. If you want high-quality CNC machined parts, then you need a shop with plenty of history and success. You can trust Rapid Axis for your CNC machinery needs. Reach out to us today to learn how we can help you.