When it comes to high-quality machining, precision is the key to part quality. And the key to the cost-effectiveness of this process is repeatability so that every part can perform as expected.
CNC precision machining, or computer-controlled machining, is almost as common as hammer and nail (although it is light years more productive). With CNC technology, the machining processes are performed by computer-controlled equipment and complex tooling.
Nearly every industry that relies on mechanical parts uses CNC machining services to:
– produce custom parts from raw materials
– Process metals into individual components
– Machine castings directly from the mold
Before we delve into how quality and performance are enhanced through CNC machining, let’s first explore what “precision quality machining” actually is.
Is “CNC machining” the same as “precision machining”?
Not really. Precision machining involves removing material from a workpiece or blank (also called “subtractive manufacturing”) to produce a custom part to tight tolerances. This is usually done by removing layers of material using milling machines, turning, or EDM.
CNC machining, a type of precision machining, differs because it is automated and allows for high CNC accuracy and extreme precision. Not only can CNC machining achieve a level of complexity and intricacy that traditional precision machining technologies cannot – cutting to 0.001″ or about 1/4 the width of a human hair – it is also cost-effective in producing complex parts.
When it comes to meeting quality and performance requirements, there are certain ways that CNC precision machining excels. Visit also: CNC Machine parts
1. first-class machining technology
CNC machining equipment is truly state of the art. The days of people pulling levers, over-handling products, and pushing buttons are long gone. No matter what type of CNC machine is used, computer components are now the “live operator” running the cutting tools and shaping the material, whether its metal, plastic, wood, glass, foam, composites or something else.
Highly skilled engineers program the machines with M-code and G-code to control every movement.
2. incredible variety of applications
The flexibility of CNC machining on many materials (aluminum, gray iron, ductile iron, austempered ductile iron, steel, stainless steel, brass, bronze, and more) can help companies of all sizes produce custom parts and designs. Plus, high-precision tolerances can be achieved repeatedly, boosting customer confidence.
Potential industries that can benefit include metal fabrication, automotive, aerospace, agriculture, construction, power generation, marine, transportation, leisure, consumer products, military/defense, industrial equipment, and many more. And the types of CNC machines vary as much as the industries they are useful for.
3. Reduced cycle times. Lower labor costs.
CNC machines’ improved manufacturing automation and ability to program without interrupting machine utilization help meet higher production demands with less dependence on the machinist or operator. CNC machines are designed for maximum accuracy and repeatability, whether they produce hundreds or thousands of machined parts.
Conventional machining requires a machine operator to program the machine and monitor and adjust for optimum run speed and tooling. Machines run a program that is created offline. Often, a set-up operator will change a machining center to produce a different part by loading the new program, changing fixtures and tools, and machining the first parts to test the process. From here, a machine operator often takes over and runs production.
The operator maintains tools, loads parts, and performs offline operations such as deburring and quality checks. Because operators run production, the setter can support multiple CNC machines. This structure allows entry-level operators to be productive and develop their skills over time, which is important as the labor pool of experienced machine operators continues to diminish.
4. Improved tool performance and reliability.
While traditional, conventional machining is acceptable for some industries, other industries require tolerances of up to +/- 0.0005. This level of precision requires CNC accuracy. And often, tens of thousands of identical parts are required, which is impossible without the repeatability of CNC.
When the Production Part Approval Process (PPAP) is complete, everything is in place to produce repeat jobs over and over again. The fixture is built. The tooling is ready and the programs have been tested. The quality processes are established. Now the machine applies the same cut and maintains the same high quality.
5. quality of the parts
Speaking of high quality, CNC quality is second to none. Fluctuations that occur in traditional machining do not exist when using a numerically controlled machine. It can operate 24/7 and requires minimal preventive maintenance, and advanced software makes it (relatively) easy to comply with design specification changes on complex parts. In addition, extensive testing of a complex CNC part ensures that high-quality machining and advanced processes are used to exceed customer expectations.
High production quality.
Superior CNC accuracy.
Lower labor costs.
It’s no wonder CNC machine shops boast better part performance and a happier workforce. Each type of manufacturing process has its advantages and disadvantages. It’s up to you to decide if CNC precision machining is the best solution for your particular manufacturing application.
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