CNC machining stands for Computer Numerical Control. Simply put, a machine is controlled by a computer instead (in lieu) of by hand. A computer tells the machine when and where to move. These movements are made using motors (usually servo motors) to move the machine to a certain location. This all happens in a split second.
To add to its productivity, a computer can tell several motors to move at the same time, thus achieving arcs, tapers, contours etc. To be fair to technology, we should at least mention CNC derived from NC (numerical control). These machines were programmed with Punch Tape. The programmer would put a new tape in a tape punch, create the program then put the tape in a tape reader which was usually located on the machine tool. The machine would read the punched holes in the tape and make the appropriate operation. If a program changed – you guessed it – a new tape had to be made.
Today CNC Machines have done away with the labor-intensive use of tape. Computers are now used to create, store and alter programs and CNC are used in a large variety of machines from Lathes, Milling Machines, Grinders, Routers to Press Brakes, Shears, Lasers and more. All of which move or operate the machine with less human operator physical movement than ever. That’s not to say that humans are no longer needed. In fact, I would concede CNC has helped create more jobs.
Although machines have become faster, more accurate and more consistent, people are still needed to engineer, create programs (many times using CAD-CAM) to load and unload parts and monitor the machines while running. Let’s not forget the technicians that keep all these CNC Machines running.
One element I mentioned earlier was CAD-CAM. This is an acronym for (Computer Aided Design-Computer Aided Manufacturing) used to design and manufacture products.
CAD-CAM systems can be used to design a product then used to control the machine during manufacturing.
CNC has accomplished many things such as helping small shops compete with larger ones, leveled the playing field globally, and created jobs. Worldwide Machine Tool, LLC can help your company make the right decision when it comes to CNC.