When you think of the machining process what comes to mind? Chances are you still imagine long assembly lines where machines do the repetitive tasks that humans did by hand back at the turn of the 20th century. Well if that’s what you imagine, then you’re way, way behind the times. The truth is the modern machining process looks almost nothing like it did just a decade ago. From long lines of giant machines performing single functions, machining is now a more modular process. It’s called CNC machining and the CNC stands for Computer Numerical Control and if you take the time to learn about it now, you’ll know where the industry is heading in the coming years.
Watch and Learn
Explained in layman’s terms CNC machining is the name for the process where a computer is controlling the very precise movement of factory tools and the machines those tools are shaping. it’s an amazing process to watch so let’s start with a bit of eye candy to let you see the process.
Watching the process can teach you a lot about what CNC manufacturing looks like, but in order to really understand the process, we’ll need to get into the weeds just a bit so bear with us.
One-Stop, High Volume CNC Machining
The self-contained nature of high volume CNC Machining is what sets it apart. All of the work is being done by one machine in one place. That saves space and time. In our shop, that means we have room for more machines.
That’s where the high volume part of the process begins to make a difference. Where machining used to involve a number of machines each doing one thing, we now have a number of machines doing all the work at the same time.
And in some of the really high-end systems like these with full automation, it’s literally a plug and play system with the automated elements delivering individual pieces of material the process can run almost completely on its own.
The Different Types of CNC Machining
CNC machining takes a few forms, the most common is CNC Milling machines, these are the kind we use. We’ll get into more detail about them in a bit, but here’s an idea of the types of precision products we can create. But there are few other types of CNC Machines worth a mention:
Plasma Cutters: This uses a plasma torch to cut metals into all kinds of shapes and sizes. Hand-held plasma torches just can’t get the same kind of precision that a CNC system can manage.
Electric Discharge Machines: This uses electrical current to mold metal into particular shapes.
Water Jet Cutters: This method uses high-power water jets, sometimes mixed with an abrasive like sand to cut stone or any metals. This process works best with materials that literally can’t stand the heat of other kinds of mills.
Vertical and Horizontal Milling Machines
These are the kind we use and they are incredibly versatile and impressive machines. The difference between the two is all in the name. A vertical milling machine has a cutting tool oriented vertically, a horizontal milling machine has a cutting element with a horizontal orientation.
What’s the difference? A vertical milling machine has a cutting spindle that moves up and down along the cutting service. A horizontal milling machine has a cutting spindle that’s horizontal to the ground. The advantage of a horizontal milling machine is that it can make deeper cuts and usually can use a more diverse set of cutting tools.
Machining is our Future
If you are familiar with machining and like to work with tools in your hand, we’re impressed and say more power to you. But if you have clients, and they have expectations and they’re waiting on some precision machining then at some point you’re going to have to go to a CNC system in order to stay competitive.
Another reason why the world is moving towards CNC is that computers are quicker, they’re more precise, and they’re cheaper. Using them guarantees a better product more quickly produced, and that just makes business sense. It also keeps the people who run the machines safer.
Finally, in the increasingly complex world of design, tolerances can come down to an almost microscopic level and that’s a bit more than the average human eye can deal with. And that’s another place where the computer is your friend. Computers do what you tell them but they do it the same way every time, so if standardization is a big part of your project you’re going to want to go with a CNC machining system.
The Cost of Doing Business
These machines aren’t cheap, we’re talking tens of thousands of dollars. That’s why it makes sense to use someone else’s milling equipment and we have plenty of milling machines to choose from when it comes time to get the job done.
So we’ve got the tools all you have to bring is the materials and the plans. Once we have all that we’ll work with you on a CNC machining cost calculation that works within your budget and gives you the precision parts that you need. Don’t hesitate to reach out and we’ll be in touch to talk through the details and get you what you need.
Now that you have a decent overview of high volume CNC machining how it works and what it’s capable of you’re in a better position to decide if these kinds of tools are the ones that are going to be right for your next project. When the time comes we’re here for you and we have the tools that will work perfectly for your project no matter what it is. So stop by and browse our products, our tools, and the large array of services we can offer you and your company. Here at New Age Metal Fabricating has been in the business for more than 40 years so we know how to do the job right.