Computer controlled machining has been around a while. It started in the 1940’s and has rapidly advanced with the introduction of computers. Today computers are on a micro scale making them even more powerful than the first space craft we put on the moon.
With the help of computer programmers and computer aided (CAD) design, high-speed automation and advanced production capabilities, CNC machines are fully integrated into manufacturing at almost every level.
CNC Programming and CNC machines have become a critical part of manufacturing today. It is used in everything from medical parts, military, aerospace, industrial and many more industries. It has empowered the manufacturing industry to innovate even more.
SPEED OF MANUFACTURING
Before the invention of CNC machines, mills and lathes were run by operators. They would read the drawings by the engineer and determine the best way to make the part in the design. Many complex parts were mounted by hand and oriented by hand too. Engineers had to include orienting features on the plans to make sure the parts were produced correctly. This was both time consuming for the engineer and the operator of the machine in production.
Today with high powered computers and complex 3d modeling in autocad this is much easier. CAD files are read directly by the CNC machines and allows the machine to automatically plan out the machining operations. Advanced automation CNC’s have articulating tables and heads to reorient parts and tools without ever having to stop the machine to reorient the part. This saves a tremendous amount of time.
With CNC machines being so advanced this has made it much easier to make components faster and with greater precision. Since parts are remounted, this reduces the number of potential errors that can happen by reorienting parts in complex operations.
Better accuracy, precision and repeatability allow for high-quality parts and reduction of waste in operations.
With computer technology advancing at break-neck speed, it also allows the use of CNC machines to be run continuously. Some machines can complete one operation at a time while others can handle multiple operations. With the proper programming these machines can run 24/7 with little down time for maintenance. This greatly increases productivity and profitability in your day to day operations.
In the past basic CNC machines were limited in capabilities, speed and complexity. One of the greatest impacts on the manufacturing industry is; if you can dream it up a good CNC programmer can create, model and program a CNC machine to build anything. More prototyping can be done which makes innovation robust and alive into the future for multiple industries.
The next innovation is 3D printing of parts. That industry is exploding and innovating the manufacturing industry even more.