While the specific applications of CNC machine vary greatly from one machine to the next, all these sophisticated CNC machines have become widely used in a variety of industries. A few of the major benefits offered by CNC technology are described below.
The first benefit offered by all forms of CNC machine tools is improved automation. the skill level of the operator in producing the work can be reduced or eliminated. Many CNC machines can run unattended during their entire machining cycle, freeing the operator to do other tasks. this gives the CNC user several side benefits including reduced operator fatigue, fewer mistakes caused by human error, and consistent and predictable machining time for each work piece.
The second major benefit of CNC technology is consistent and accurate work pieces. todays CNC machines feature a typical accuracy rate in the range of 2 to 4 thousandths of an inch or 0.05 to 0.10 mm and repeatability near or better than 8 ten-thousandths of an inch or 0.02mm. this means that once a program is verified, two, ten, or one thousand identical work pieces can be easily produced with the same precision and consistency.
A third benefit offered by most forms of CNC machine tools is flexibility. since these machines are run from computer programs, running a different work piece is as easy as loading a different program.
This leads to yet another benefit, quick changeover. since these machines are very easy to set up and run, and given the ease with which programs can be loaded, they allow for a very short set up time. this is critical with today’s Just-in-time production environments.
The resulting reduction in the number of machines needed in a wood manufacturing shop is yet another benefit worthy of noting. in the past, a great number of dedicated machines were needed to produce furniture or cabinets. With the advent of CNC technology, this reality has changed drastically.
Less time spent between work centers means faster production time. Less Work-in-Progress (WiP) also translates into lower inventory and less investment in non value-added resources.
As a result, machinery requirements decrease, employee workloads are simplified, and waste is minimized while production is maximized.
The CNC router machine takes no breaks and although the human operator does, he can prepare work for the machine to perform on its own while he is undertaking other work.
For example, a company could run a carving program whenever the machine is not scheduled to be used. this carving program runs for many hours while the operator performs other work, providing extra revenue for the business.
Machines are made to optimally perform a set of functions and they don’t inherently have the same mobility and versatility as humans. newer machines have evolved to become multitasking and more versatile and although there are still some limitations with CNC software technology, CNC machine manufacturers are constantly improving their machines and creative users are finding new ways of using them beyond their limitations.
Since the machine will be running under program control, the skill level required of the CNC machine operator is also reduced as compared to a worker producing work pieces with conventional machine tools. of course this is offset by the skill needed in the office to draw and program the parts for the machine.