CNC use dates back to the 1940’s and 1950s. Global market value for CNC machines continues to grow and increase, according to research, it is estimated to be close to 60.90 billion, with a growth rate of 10.2% from 2022 to 2030.
CNC machining is the process of using software to guide machines. A CNC machine can be used for milling, grinding, turning, boring, and reaming a material. The process can take a virtual design and turn it into a three-dimensional product. CNC is computer numerical control. The software used is CAD, computer aided design, followed by CAM, computer aided manufacturing.
With this newer technology, a CNC machine can replace manual machining operations. One machine operator can be over multiple machines at once. There is also little to no waste, zero defects, faster and efficient production, quicker assembly, enhanced personnel safety, reduction in energy consumption, and lower production costs.
Benefits include maximizing production because a CNC machine can create more pieces in less time, which can increase production output. Another helpful technology system to help optimize machine sustainability would be to use an IoT based maintenance schedule. An IoT based maintenance schedule can help prevent failures by using sensors to warn about potential machine issues which lets employees address the concerns and avoid a breakdown. Adding a CNC machine can help mitigate labor shortages. According to Deloitte it is harder to find and retain talent to fill the manufacturing job positions.
The use of a CNC machine can reduce human error drastically and allow employers to reassign employees to complete other tasks to create higher productivity. Restructuring work flow can help a company accomplish more in the same amount of time with the same size workforce. A CNC machine can also increase worker safety by keeping the workers away from the cutting tools or dangerous processes like working with high temperatures or corrosive materials. Rapid prototyping allows for a design to be created in the computer software and then sent to the CNC machine in a shorter amount of time, to help with a quicker production turnaround time.
Industries that use a CNC machine include the dental industry who use the machine to carve out crowns and implants, and the medical industry makes surgical instruments, orthotics and electronic enclosures. The aerospace industry creates engine mounts, fuel flow components, and landing gear components. The automotive industry can use a CNC machine, like the horizontal boring mills that can make holes in a horizontal direction, for gearbox, cylinder blocks, or dashboard panels and gas gauges. Wheels and bogies are created for railway trains as well as similar parts to other transportation industries, like gearboxes and smaller components. The oil and gas industry can use CNC machining to create pistons, cylinders, rods and pins. Many industries rely on CNC machined parts to keep quality control at the highest and make sure the parts are functioning properly, safety is the most important.
As with any technology a CNC does have some limitations. The limitations for a CNC machine include curved cuts and results may vary depending on the materials being used and the design being cut. Also A CNC machine does require a skilled operator to use the machine as well a highly skilled professional to fix the machine. The machine can be costly to purchase and install. Lastly, the use of a CNC machine can reduce manual labor which can increase unemployment.
There are many uses for a CNC machine to upgrade the manufacturing process. It can help shorten production time, increase accuracy and help restructure your workforce to create additional tasks and increase profits. There is a huge potential to see a quick ROI (return on investment) with the addition of one or more CNC machines to the manufacturing process.