Evolving from the numerical control machining process which utilized punched tape cards, CNC machining is a manufacturing process that utilizes computerized controls to operate and manipulate machine and cutting tools to shape stock material such as metal, plastic, wood, foam, composite, etc. into custom parts and designs. While the CNC machining process offers various capabilities and operations, the fundamental principles of the process remain largely the same throughout all of them.
A CNC machine processes a piece of material to meet specifications by following a coded programmed instruction and without a manual operator directly controlling the machining operation. The accuracy of the CNC machine ensures consistent product quality. The process is more precise than manual machining and can be repeated in the same manner over and over again. Increased production speed and increased efficiency. CNC machining is a versatile and cost-effective manufacturing process. This process is compatible with a huge range of materials. As such, CNC machining helps across a diverse array of industries for a variety of applications. Manufacturers and machinists use this process in various ways. This includes direct manufacturing process, indirect manufacturing process, or in conjunction with other processes.
CNC machining services use a subtractive fabrication method creating numerous intricate parts required in dozens of industries such as medical, defense, petrochemical, aerospace, and more. While mass production works for some applications, many industries require custom-created parts for specific uses. The ability to accurately design and create pieces with a computer drives many companies to seek CNC machining for their operations. Thanks to the advancement of both computers and machines, the process allows for more intricate customized designs than other production methods can achieve. The aerospace industry has a long-shared history with CNC machining. The machining of metal aircraft components occurs at the highest level of precision. This is highly essential for safety-critical applications.
The automotive industry regularly enjoys the use of CNC milling machines for both prototyping and production. Extruded metal can be machined into cylinder blocks, gearboxes, valves, axels, and various other components. On the other hand, CNC machines plastics into components like dashboard panels and gas gauges. It is also used in the Defense Industry since the military sector frequently turns to CNC machining for the prototyping of rugged and reliable parts. The machining intends to allow the parts to withstand wear and tear with minimal upkeep. Many of these parts overlap with other industries such as aerospace and electronics. The ability of CNC machines to provide on-demand replacement parts and upgraded components are particularly useful in this industry. Therefore, it works well for parts that demand constant innovation and security. It is also commonly used in Electronic Devices such as laptops, smartphones, and many others. The chassis of an Apple MacBook for example, is CNC machined from extruded aluminum and then anodized.
As with any manufacturing process, the unique advantages of CNC machining inform the kind of applications for which it can be used. However, the benefits of CNC are desirable in virtually any industry. They are suitable for many parts and products. Since CNC machines can process almost any type of material, their applications are near limitless. There are several applications of CNC machining in various industries. Whatever industry you’re in, there will be some type of CNC machining practice that will suit your needs. If you’re interested in buying a CNC machine, please look through our used CNC inventory or contact us today and we’ll guarantee that we can help you find the right machine that’s perfect for your application.