Precision machining technology allows machine shops to create parts with tight tolerances that are highly complex and require intricate geometries. This high-velocity machining process uses computer-controlled machine tools to produce parts. Similar to many machining processes, precision machining requires a Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machine, though it is a more complex form of machining.
A CNC precision machine requires a high-end cutting tool to ensure quality. The tool must be capable of carefully removing material to achieve strict product specifications. Additionally, CNC precision machining is usually outfitted with high-speed robotics technology to automatically control the cutting tool.
The stringent requirements of precision machining processes have driven the advancement of CNC machining. Today, CNC machines are capable of exceptional levels of accuracy and precision that allow them to create intricate designs and highly specialized parts.
Automation in CNC Precision Machining
CNC machines are often integrated with automation technologies to improve capabilities. Automation enables CNC machines to create parts more precisely. This level of accuracy and repeatability during production enhances the quality of parts.
Precision machining technology is crucial for manufacturing industries that require parts to be produced with exact measurements, such as aerospace, medical device manufacturing, and automotive. These sectors can rely on automated CNC precision machining for parts with consistent quality.
In addition to improving quality of parts, automation has also made CNC machines more productive and efficient. Due to automation technologies, CNC machines can now run continuously. This helps manufacturers to minimize downtime while maximizing productivity and eliminating human error. An increase in efficiency allows manufacturers to increase production output, creating opportunities to add customers and increase revenue.
Automation has also helped turned CNC machines into a viable option for prototyping. CNC machining can turn digital designs into physical prototypes. By leveraging rapid prototyping capabilities, manufacturers can efficiently test design concepts and identify design flaws. The functional prototypes created by CNC machines allow for faster design validation and a quicker time to market for products and parts. Manufacturing industries that work to continually innovate their products — including robotics and consumer electronics — benefit the most from these prototyping capabilities.
Another benefit of adding automation to CNC machining is that it improves workplace safety. With automated operations, modern CNC machines require minimal involvement from the operator. This means that human workers spend less time around the moving parts, hot surfaces, and sharp edges of CNC machines. Automated machining mitigates safety risks for machine operators, improving job quality and employee satisfaction.
Outfitting CNC machines with automation technologies has pushed machining into the fourth industrial revolution. Using advanced technology, CNC machines help manufacturers increase productivity and remain competitive in a shifting manufacturing landscape. Automation is a cornerstone in the advancement of CNC precision machining technology.
Multi-Axis Precision Machining
Multi-axis CNC machines have increased capabilities that enable the creation of intricate designs. In multi-axis machining, several axes are simultaneously moving. In order to be classified as multi-axis, a CNC machine must have at least three axes and can have up to 12. This versatile machining process gives manufacturers more control. It’s used to produce complex parts such as turbine blades, elaborate molds, and manufactured articulate joints.
Along with automation, multi-axis machining has helped position CNC machines as an advanced manufacturing technology. The more advanced a multi-axis machine, the higher the up-front investment, but these machines offer several benefits to manufacturers. Their high-precision technology reduces machining time, increases production throughput, cuts costs, and minimizes waste. Multi-axis precision machining is essential for the continued advancement of CNC machine shops.
To learn more about precision machining technology and get hands-on experience with CNC precision machines, attend WESTEC.