Everything to know about CNC manufacturing

CNC stands for the term -computer numerically controlled machines. They are popularly known as electro mechanical machines, used in manipulating tools with numerous axes. It works according to the pre-planned instructions of a computer program. 

CNC machines came into existence as early as the 1940s. Traditionally, punched tapes were used to store data. The code required to control the machines was manually punched on a data card and fed into the CNC manufacturing system. The system would then interpret the data and then execute the action. 

Like any other technology, CNC machines and manufacturing processes also evolved through these years. Now, the modern CNC machines are brilliant and capable enough to dictate and control the movement of complex machinery like grinders, lathes, mills, and CNC routers. 

It superseded the manual control by effortlessly executing 3D cutting tasks in a single set of prompts. 

How does it work?

In the process of evolution, code generators with numerical systems assumed that mechanisms were not flawed even when there was the possibility of errors. This was especially the case when the machine was directed to execute multiple cuts in the same direction simultaneously. 

However, now CNC machines are fed to the computer with the help of small keyboards. Every program is saved into the computer’s memory, written and edited by the programmers. Thus, present  CNC machines have vast computational capacity. Also, they are not static but can be improved with new prompts by adding predetermined programs.  

Programming is the basic need in a modern CNC machine. After the machine is activated, the cuts are programmed as per the requirement into the software. Then, just like a robot, the tools and machinery work to cut the dimensional tasks as specified.

Type of CNC machining systems

Open or closed-loop machining systems 

The positioning system during the CNC manufacturing process is essential and is determined through an open or closed-loop system.

Under the open-loop machining system, signaling occurs between the CNC controller and the motor in a single direction. It means nothing comes back from the motor to the controller again. However, in the closed-loop system, the CNC controller gets the information in the form of feedback containing errors. Thus, with closed-loop rectification of errors in velocity and position is possible. 

The fully automated machining system 

It is completely automated with pre-programmed software and rigid CNC protocols. It used two essential software called CAD and CAM. CAD is the computer-aided designing software that sets the dimensions in place; the other is the computer-aided manufacturing software that helps arrive at an actual finished product. 

Many machine tools like drills and cutters are infused into one cell with modern machines to accommodate all the needs. Also, the installation process with several devices but controlled by the same program. This enhances consistency in parts production which manually can never be possible. 

Different types of CNC machines 

CNC mills – The CNC milling machine is a high-speed machine that uses a high-energy cutting tool. The CNC milling equipment is usually used for machining in connection with other operations of the same machine, such as lathe work and metal forming. CNC milling machines are generally high-speed machines that are designed for high-speed operations.

Lathes – Lathes are a type of metal tool and machine used to make small metal parts. They are made in various sizes and shapes and are often used to produce precision parts. Lathes are made from several materials, including steel, aluminum, and brass. The lathe is the most helpful machine tool for turning out precision parts. It can work with wood and metal and is essential in the engineering industry.