CNC machines are automatic milling machines which manufacture industrial parts without the help of human being. The CNC machine utilizes coded instructions to sent to an internal computer, allowing factories to accurately and quickly manufacture CNC machining components. There are different kinds of CNC machines such as a plasma cutter or drill, and they can be used for manufacturing various kinds of components which are widely used in many industries.
Three common types of CNC machines
There are three common types of CNC machines such as CNC milling machines, grinders and lathes. CNC milling machines can automatically cut materials with a cutting spindle. Lathes can shape materials with an automated tool. Grinders can grind materials with a spinning wheel. Grinders are easily to be managed. There are CNC machines such as CNC routers, computer programmable 3D printers and turret punches besides these three kinds of CNC machines mentioned above.
Programming and Operating of CNC machines
The code that is used to program CNC units is generically called the G-code. It contains information about which parts of a machine should be positioned and tells a machine where to place a tool exactly. Other instructions tell a machine additional details such as specific running speed, cutting, burning and punching depth, tooling angle, etc. Most modern industrial CNC machines are connected to the internet and receive operating instructions through a software file.
Pros and cons of CNC machines
CNC machines can be combined with entire cells of tooling machines. They are often driven by completely digital design, and there is no need to draw a design blueprint. They are able to run for several days without human intervention. Some of the CNC machines can even call the operator’s cell phone and send an alert when a malfunction occurs. These advantages make CNC machines manufacture thousands of components without human intervention, freeing the operator to carry out other tasks.
In addition, CNC machines can make components with good accuracy which almost can’t be obtained by other tools. Before, worker must control various tools by their hands, and errors always occur. However, CNC machines can carry out the same task continually without feeling tired. CNC machines can not only save a lot of time, but also improve accuracy of the workpiece, reducing defect workpieces.
Though CNC machines have many advantages, they are more expensive than the older machines, resulting in CNC machines being not affordable for some factories with small scales. And it’s also expensive to repair and maintain CNC machines. CNC machines can limit the potential for errors, but they can’t entirely eliminate errors due to incorrect operation of CNC machines by operators. Furthermore, CNC machines should be operated by a well trained operator in order to eliminate human errors.
Development of CNC machines
CNC machines have evolved since they are introduced to the manufacturing industry. The earliest CNC machine received code instructions through a hard-wired controller, so the programming format could not be changed. Later, CNC machines were programmed through mainframe cables and floppy disks, allowing changes in programming. Modern CNC machines can be operated by CDs or USB drives of software files.