What is the most intricate pattern you have ever seen? Now imagine that pattern carved out in metal, or plastic, or even wood, let your mind go wild. This does not have to be imagined anymore. As technology and manufacturing evolved hand in hand, a beautiful product that came out of this union was CNC machines.
By BAILEY HUDSON
Conceived in the 1930’s, Computer Numerically Controlled Machines are devices that are automated for the purpose of performing complex cutting tasks. These tasks are performed on materials called stock pieces which could be anything from metal to wood. Modern manufacturing is growing rapidly, and CNC machines are the ones driving us into the new age. Here are some of the ways how:
When placed side by side, an experienced worker might struggle immensely against a new machine. The specialist might be able to produce a large number of products but he will need to rest, and go for lunch breaks. Machines on the other hand can run for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. All you need to do is program them with the language of G-code. Besides, even with a specialist the quality of the product might vary across a large number of products. Machines on the other hand achieve mass scale while still ensuring consistency of quality.
CNC machines have evolved a lot throughout the ages. As evolution has progressed, the need for human interaction has been less and less. At the moment, a simple command is all that is needed to manufacture a variety of products. These machines have been made to interpret numerical data and use electromechanical parts to make cuttings and change the shape of raw materials. This in turn greatly reduces the time required and increases manufacturing immensely. A good example is how the automobile industry has embraced the use of CNC machines. It has enabled it to reduce the amount of time used from when the product is designed to when it is first produced. Therefore, allowing for mass production of cars.
The fact that commands are given to the computer before it starts doing anything means that it knows exactly what to do. The only time when human intervention is needed after this, is when the machine needs maintenance. This means that the machine can do a lot more than what was originally possible in much less time. Before automated machines, a lot of time was consumed between the product design and in manufacturing. An example is when a part needed to be moved, or its position changed. This needed a specialist to intervene and do it manually. Currently all this is in the commands given to the machine, and the machine does this seamlessly.
Blueprint for future technologies
When CNC’s were first introduced in the early 20th Century, they disrupted the whole market as they made manufacturing cheaper, faster, and more efficient. Throughout, what has stood out is how they have set the standard for manufacturing equipment for many years to come. New products being developed always have to make sure they at least uphold the standards or beat them. CNC machines presently have features including interactive displays that ensure maximum customizability.
The above mentioned are just a few ways of how CNC machining has impacted modern manufacturing. It has provided major strides and we expect further expansion as time goes by.