The manufacturing industry is increasingly reliant on computer-numerical control or CNC machining. It has a number of advantages over traditional machining methods, though the initial costs of the machine and required skills to support them have slowed their adoption rate. Yet their benefits outweigh these costs for manufacturers, and these benefits are seen by those who choose to have parts produced via CNC machines. Here are five reasons you should opt for CNC over conventional machining.
CNC machining services are more affordable than most manufacturing methods for a variety of reasons. For example, it requires less skilled labor. A single machinist can watch over multiple CNC machines once they are programmed.
Companies then need fewer machinists and trained operators. The machine shop often requires a grinder, router, shaping machine, vertical miller or central lathe. Yet all of that can be done with a single CNC machine, and it has a far greater utilization rate. This means they need fewer machines to create almost anything, and this results in a lower per item cost. They certainly don’t have to keep skilled specialized technicians on hand for every type of machine. At most, they’ll need a CNC programmer to create the work instructions for the machines from the design you submit online and skilled labor for any end milling that needs to be done.
Companies like Rapid Direct will be able to offer even lower prices thanks to the lower labor costs in China. They have more than five hundred sets of CNC machines and auxiliary machines. This means they can provide affordable CNC rapid prototyping or mass production of CNC machining parts. They can often complete CNC prototyping requests overnight, while large scale orders may be done in a matter of days. Because the CNC machines require relatively little oversight, it is easier for CNC manufacturing firms to keep running through the night, resulting in faster production times.
CNC machining has high accuracy, even when you’re making complex shapes. The CNC machines are controlled by ultra-precise computer systems. You’ll get higher quality results this way rather than relying on human machinists. Furthermore, the machine creates work instructions from the design file you provide. The fact that the same work instructions are used on almost every machine results in very consistent operations, reducing the opportunities for flaws.
CNC machines allow you to get a much more uniform end product. Even the best engineer in the world will find it hard to create components that don’t at least have a few differences. With CNC machining, each and every component that will be produced will be exactly to the prototype’s specifications.
CNC machining operations impact product quality in other ways. You often get a final assembly that is one piece. This gives you a solid, durable product with few points where it could fail. You can also choose the end finish, and that may be done by the CNC machine as part of its process. And with every step you automate, there is less opportunity for human error or damage during handling.
CNC machines are capable of making complex parts with high accuracy and do so affordably though you’re requesting small batches. Yet you can use CNC machines to make large lots of parts. One point in favor of CNC machines is their versatility. You could make the same design out of several different materials or small lots of several similar designs. Now you can go forward with product testing and user testing with physical items. If you decide to mass-produce them, the end products will match the prototypes.
One of the biggest advantages of CNC machining is speed. The machines can work non-stop because they don’t get tired. However, the biggest benefit is the sheer speed the machines work relative to human operators. CNC shops regularly offer faster cycle times for batch jobs. CNC machines often run overnight because they only need a few people to supervise a whole lot of machines running. This means they are running the machines 24x7 and can finish a large lot faster than machine shops that shut down at night.
What’s great about not having to rely as much on your workforce is that you’ll be able to reduce the chances of staffing and logistical issues. Not having enough staff on hand, having too many staff out on leave, or just having to carry underperforming workers can affect your business both in terms of production and employee morale. With CNC machining, you’ll be able to reduce the chances for catastrophes and missing production targets.
CNC machines stand out for their high levels of quality, consistency, and reliability. They’re an excellent way to make small lots of almost anything and complex parts at a relatively low cost per item.