Working with a CNC machine shop to produce items for your business can have some significant advantages over hand machining. CNC (computer numerical control) machining is readily available, and once set up, the system is highly efficient, saving time and money in the long run.
Reduced Production Times
CNC machining offers significantly lower production times than traditional machining. The CNC machine uses a program to cut, mill, grind or drill the material into the finished product, and while the initial program can take some trial and error to create, once complete, it can be stored and loaded into the machine when it is needed. Once the machine is set up to make the item, the operator only needs to load the material and start the machine.
The operator can set up the material and inspect the part that just came out while the machine is creating another one. In many cases, this allows operators to handle several tasks instead of being dedicated to one machine and one process. Because all the work is done in one machine, there is no time wasted moving partially completed items from a mill to a drill press and onto a lathe.
Precise And Repeatable
Another advantage of CNC machining is that the process is extremely precise because the computer program entirely controls it. If the computer makes a mistake, the operator can check the program to see if there is a problem, but more often than not, the machine will run the program many times without missing a beat.
Since the entire process is running from the same program, repeatedly making the same item to the same specs is not difficult. If the part needs to fit in an assembly and must be the same every time, the CNC machine will make that easier. In most situations, the CNC machine is set up with a jig so that the blank or material goes in the same way each time to ensure there is no human error in the process.
Once the blank is in the machine and the computer starts working on the material, it will make each cut, drill each hole, or mill each surface the same way time and time again. The only exception to this is a computer failure or a tool failure like a broken end mill or drill bit.
When the error does occur, the machine will stop and alert the operator to the problem so they can correct it before any additional parts are made. This will reduce scrap or waste due to a machine error, which can equate to cost savings over time.