CNC (Computer Numerical Control) machines are in use in almost every industry worldwide. The first CNC machines date back to the 1950s in the U.S.A, and by 1969, CNC machines were popular in most industries. One advantage of the CNC machines remains their ability to carry out several operations nonstop without any modifications, making it hard for errors to occur. The CNC machines provide increased safety unlike circular saws, milling cutter and other machines where humans are involved in the entire manufacturing process. Modern CNC machines operate by reading vast numbers of code in its program memory.
Recently, more manufacturers have adopted CNC machines, with the global market value for CNC machines being $70 billion by 2018 and projected to reach $111 billion in 2026, which will mark a 6.8% growth in less than ten years.
CNC Machines are making several impacts in the manufacturing industry, such as:
1. Maximizing Efficiency and Operating Costs
The increasing use of CAD (Computer-Aided Design) and CAM (Computer-Aided Manufacturing) in production design, as well as prototyping, improves the manufacturers’ ability to deliver top-precision parts efficiently. CNC machinery improves the efficiency in part mass production and reduces the operating expenses, thus improving revenue. CNC machinery provides the manufacturer with accurate detailing and works with various materials.
CNC machines do not require switching off unless you need to carry out standard maintenance. This means that production can go ahead without taking any breaks as humans do. When a human operator takes a break, production must take a break, but computer-controlled machines do not need to rest, and the production process is streamlined.
2. Ensures Quality and Adopts Automation
CNC machines are famous for their excellent degree of precision while creating intricate shapes such as diagonal cuts or curves, making the demand of the machinery rise, especially with technological advancements such as CAM, CAD and various CNC software. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the latest technological advancement that is making its mark on CNC machining services by improving safety, product innovation and productivity. CNC machine equipment repairs are costly, manufacturers are using predictive technology, and analytics as it helps them to reduce downtimes caused by repairs.
3. Improving Safety
CNC machining greatly improves the safety of workers in the manufacturing industry. With CNC machines, the operators do not have to go near the cutting tools, which improve on safety. The CNC machines only need to have their tasks programmed into their memory, and then they do not need an operator. This makes the machines safe for carrying out processes that may involve high temperatures, corrosive substances, or any highly dangerous process.
4. More Accuracy
The CNC machines provide greater accuracy for manufacturers. CNC is programmed with details of the production process, and by doing this; identical components can be created with the highest precision levels. Programming the designs and specifications of the product into the machine ensures there is no room for error.
Reducing or eliminating errors in the production process ensures there is no material wastage. A CNC machine can manufacture parts that are difficult for competitors to replicate. A CNC machine allows the production of products that cannot be produced via manual processes because human laborers have limited capabilities and can only do so much.
The manufacturing industry has grown in leaps and bounds since the first CNC machine was introduced. The mass production of identical CNC machine parts is now possible using these machines, which make work easier for human workers. Once the machine has been programmed with the product’s data design, there is no space for errors as the machine works without human intervention.
When the production work involves dangerous processes such as very high temperatures or toxic materials, the human operators are kept safe from harm, as they do not need to go near the danger zones. In the years ahead, CNC machines are expected to become more intelligent with the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IoT). Ten years from now, the technological advancements will be light years ahead of where we are now.
Samantha Acuna is a writer based in San Francisco, CA. Her work has been featured in The Huffington Post, Entrepreneur.com, and Yahoo Small Business.