CNC machining is increasingly essential to a number of different industries worldwide, and it is because of this growing ubiquity that it is important to understand why it is so widely used and which areas stand to benefit the most.
To that end, here is a look at both the industrial applications that are most commonly associated with CNC machining technology, as well as the advantages that it brings to the table in comparison with traditional alternatives.
For centuries, working with metal has been a labor-intensive and risky process, as well as requiring immense skill from the craftspeople involved. Thankfully, the era of CNC machining has made this process safer, more efficient and significantly more accessible as well.
Both brand new equipment and used mills, drills, routers and press brakes found on marketplaces like Revelation Machinery are capable of manipulating metal more precisely than ever before.
Machined metal parts and components can be found across a broad swath of industries, ranging from aerospace and automotive manufacturing to construction and beyond.
Furthermore because CNC machining is almost endlessly repeatable with a high degree of accuracy and consistency, it leads to less waste and lower costs in metal fabrication applications, which is good for manufacturers and their customers alike.
Working with wood is an even more ancient practice, and once again it has been completely revolutionized thanks to the arrival of CNC equipment.
Wood can be manipulated in much the same way as metal, up to and including through the use of laser-based CNC machinery for marking, etching and engraving. Turning is another key practice that is carried out by computerized machinery, delivering far more consistent results than manually operated alternatives without compromising on quality.
Clearly there is still a role for artisanal craftspeople to play in this context, so it is worth noting that CNC machining can be used to augment the abilities of human workers, rather than replacing them outright. It is this important distinction which needs to be made to understand why the wider uptake of computerized manufacturing technology does not pose an existential threat to more traditional methods.
CNC machining is crucial for many aspects of the consumer electronics industry, with the production of small appliances and smart devices as well as larger gadgets and systems that are also used commercially being achievable only with the help of contemporary equipment.
With very small components being made, precision is at the top of the agenda, and as mentioned earlier this is something which CNC machining can deliver in ample supply.
It is even possible for CNC mills to be used to make circuit boards, both in a mass production context and on a hobbyist level, which is allowing for fresh innovations to be dreamt up in a number of differ scenarios.
Furthermore, CNC equipment allows engineers and inventors to overcome many of the obstacles that stood between them and the realization of their ambitions. If you can design a device using CAD and CAM software, you can make it a reality with modern equipment without needing to spend years training in its use.
Although campaigns to reduce the use of plastics are gaining traction, the materials in this category remain vital to a variety of industries. CNC machining is also suitable for use with this type of material, so long as the correct equipment settings and tooling are harnessed.
Precise, accurate hole drilling is amongst the most common uses in this context, as well as more general material removal, surface marking and many more applications besides.
Because contemporary CNC kit is capable of operating along multiple axes of movement, this also means that parts with more complex shapes can be created in less time, and with a reduction in setup changes. This allows smaller scale operations to reach output volumes which would have necessitated much greater use of resources in the past.
It is certainly worth considering the impact that additive manufacturing is having on a host of industries at the moment, as well as the long term changes it is set to bring about.
While it may be seen as oppositional to CNC machining, since it involves adding material layer by layer to make parts rather than removing material from a larger block, it is still fundamentally similar in the sense that both processes are highly automated and tightly controlled by computerized hardware.
From printing automotive parts to making prostheses, additive manufacturing goes hand in hand with CNC machining, and both technologies will often be used at different points in the same production process.
So there you have it; CNC machining and its industrial impact is difficult to understate, while also being fairly simple to understand and appreciate even for non-experts.