Advantages of CNC machining
Whether you are new to Computer-Numerical Control (CNC) machining, you know a little about it or are an expert, you may be interested in some of the advantages that CNC offers over more conventional manufacturing techniques, and the benefits that it can unlock for your business.
Whichever category you fall into, Highcross has put together a five-point list of the advantages we feel CNC machines might have over more traditional machines, for you to consider whether this is for you:
1) Lower labour costs
Installing CNC machine represents a high initial investment, but for sizable operations, the long-term savings on labour can be dramatic. Obviously, conventional machines require skilled labour, often specific to each machine in the manufacturing process. CNC machines usually require programming and maintenance, so these operations need to employ a few skilled technicians, but one technician can operate multiple machines and replace several lower-skilled operators.
In a sense, this mirrors the 21st-Century workplace, where traditional manufacturing and the mechanical engineering skills needed to operate conventional machines are making way for more digital experience. As such, you will be future-proofing your business, with programmers operating one machine, that then operates the multiple machines in your workplace.
2) CNC increases production choices
As a manufacturer, you might spend a great deal of money on a machine that does one thing… but may well be unwilling to do much else. Because a CNC machine is software-driven, it means it is updateable – fundamental in a manufacturing landscape where processes and ideas are likely to change, frequently. So, you can – once again – future proof yourself, in a way, and update the software to keep the CNC machine functional, and able to drive your machines to complex production processes.
3) No need for extensive skills or experience
Of course, you will need to have a skilled employee that knows how to use the CNC machine. However, that one person may well negate the need for individual workers trained in how to use each individual machine, as the CNC machine will be driving all the other machinery, automatically.
Many machines involved in the industrial and manufacturing process require skilled employees with extensive experience on that one machine, so it may be easier to maintain quality and reduce the wage bill by converting to a CNC set-up. And remember, you can use an external company like Highcross Designs to create files to use CNC.
4) Reproduce your product range endless times
As detailed in the ‘overview’ article, if you’re looking to manufacture small runs of a component, or indeed a bespoke piece, then you’re probably better sticking to conventional machining techniques. However, if you have high volume production rates of the same part, CNC may well be for you. The time is front-loaded in terms of programming the CNC machine, but you can then simply let it run, producing the same piece over and over again, with no loss of quality.
5) No costly prototypes required
Weeks, and sometimes months, can be lost in the process of designing a prototype, whether 2D or 3D for your component. Instead, CNC software can create a simulation, to assure you the design is right – and help you with the final tweaks of that design – before you progress to manufacture. Alternatively, using CAD software you can render a relatively cheap prototype before you hit ‘go’ on the machines and begin the actual machining your product.
So… food for thought. And if you would like any further advice on CNC machines, please feel free to contact Highcross and we would be delighted to further assist you.