Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machines are a cost-effective way to increase operational efficiency and product quality. They reduce overheads and improve your bottom line performance as a result of quicker production and products of consistently higher quality.
Widely used across the manufacturing industry, CNC machines are increasingly replacing manually operated machines such as vertical millers, shaping machines, routers, and centre lathes.
Operational simplicity and versatility
The use of computer programming means CNC machines are capable of controlling any tool to cut, form, and shape materials with total precision in a fraction of time time taken by traditional production methods.
The operator simply keys an instruction program into the computer, inserts the necessary tools, and allows the computer to do the job automatically, performing the full range of machining operations.
What CNC machines can do than manual machines can’t
Manufacturing businesses benefit enormously from CNC machining that produces complicated and irregular shapes, such as 3D designs. Often these cannot be made using manual machining.
Various types of CNC machines are used in different industries and selecting the appropriate CNC machine for your business hinges on your operational requirements. At Electropak we have the advantage of being able to utilise our CNC machines for the manufacture of products in the rail, medical, and marine industries.
A wide spectrum of machines to choose from
CNC machines include:
- Turning centres or lathe machines to produce cylindrical parts
- Turn mill centres that allow both milling and turning functions
- Grinding machines which can grind metal components, polish metal and smooth metal surface finishes
- Five-axis machines capable of moving in five directions simultaneously
In addition, machines can be custom-built for particular CNC operations, such as CNC routers for cutting complex shapes of wood, plastic and sheet metal, as well as CNC plasma cutters which cut 2D profile shapes into sheet metal using a plasma torch.
Other options include CNC laser cutters that are less destructive than their plasma counterparts, along with 3D printers which use a plastic extruder to push hot plastic out through a tiny hole to produce a 3D model.
The business benefits of using CNC machines
CNC machines deliver repeatable accuracy in the production process, while significantly cutting raw materials waste.
Another major advantage is the ability of CNC machines to run 24/7 without stopping. They’re capable of automatically switching tools for each stage of the process, and can operate simultaneously on multiple axes, saving valuable time and energy.
CNC machines are also much safer to use than manually operated machines because the operator does not interact with the moving parts.
Just as importantly, manufacturing facilities that use CNC machines need fewer members of staff, reducing labour costs without affecting the quality of the product. Alterations in the manufacturing process are achieved by applying software updates, rather than expensive staff training courses.