With the Precision Engineering industry going strong and thousands of parts being CNC Machined every day, have you ever wondered what advantages CNC machining has over Manual machining?
Before we get started there are some key point which should be addressed before even thinking about considering using CNC machines, including the following
- Is there enough room to fit a CNC machine as they are rather large and may be difficult to fit in to smaller buildings.
- Do you have the funds to purchase a CNC machine? Today CNC machines are very expensive and can come at a cost of over £100,000 even second hand.
- Do you have the training to use and program the machines? CNC machines require a lot of training to use and have different controls, so getting the correct training and staff is required.
So, what are the advantages to using a CNC machine over a Manual?
First of all, a CNC machine is accurate 99% of the time and can produce parts several times quicker than a manual lathe, the odd times when it is not accurate is mainly down to minor differences in the dimensions which is normally because of the type of material used, faulty tooling being used or even the environment temperature. It is very rare that a CNC machine has these issues. As well as the machine being quicker to produce parts if one product needs to be made in batch such as a thousand times then the machine can produce these parts with complete accuracy with a single command.
Not only does a CNC machine do all of this but it can also run for 24 hours a day while only stopping for maintenance or updating the software which could make the machine run quicker and improve performance.
If a prototype is requested by a client, then CNC machines include a prototyping software to simulate the process which will run to find if there are any issues with the specifications of the product which in turn could save money and time. By finding the issues early the issue can be resolved without a physical prototype ever being made.
The few issues with a CNC machine.
- The workshop can start to become untidy due to the machine creating debris which could end up on the floor also creating a possible safety issue if somebody trips.
- The CNC machine could have a fault and break down meaning the job would be stopped costing valuable time and money for a repair.
- There are some things a CNC machine just can’t do which a skilled and trained manual machinist would be able to do even though it wouldn't be able to be produced to perfection.
In conclusion a CNC machine is a worthy investment if you can get your hands on one as they make life a lot easier and create products at a much quicker pace which in turn will lead to them paying for themselves in the future, however we believe it is best that manual machining isn't left out as this is a great alternative for if there is ever a breakdown with a CNC machine or if there are small jobs which need completing.
Mako Precision Engineering Ltd.