Most people you talk to in your life will never have even heard of the term CNC machining before. Little do they know that the CNC process has probably touched there life in one way or another. If you work in manufacturing it is more likely that you have heard of the term and you’ll most likely be dealing with a CNC at some point. Everything that an operator is able to do with conventional machine tools is programmable with a CNC machine. Next we take a closer look at CNC machines and their operations.
The reason why CNC machining tools are so effective is due to there accuracy, efficiency and productivity. A CNC machine is relatively easy to keep up and running upon initial setup. Even the work piece loading process has been automated in some companies. Most of the time CNC operators are required to complete other tasks related to the operations of the CNC. Some of these tasks include measuring work pieces and making adjustments to keep the CNC machine running at maximum efficiency.
If a CNC could only move a work piece in two directional axes its functionality would be severely limited. This is why almost all CNC machines are programmed to operate in several other ways. The actual CNC machine type has to do with its programmable accessories as well. Some of these accessories include the following. An automatic tool changer allows the tool to be automatically placed in the spindle when machining. The speed of the spindle can easily be specified and the spindle can be turned in two directions. In addition many machining operations must have coolant for lubrication purposes.
With CNC touching so many aspects of manufacturing and large fabrication, many machining processes now incorporate the use of CNC machines. We now take a look at how CNC machining affects the world of metal removal and metal fabrication. When removing metal the processes of facing, boring, turning, grooving, knurling, and threading are done with CNC turning centers. There are many variations of these machines which include, CNC milling machines, CNC drill and tap centers, and CNC lathes. Outside diameter grinding and internal diameter grinding would be completed on CNC grinders.
When using a CNC machine in association to metal fabrication, think of a metal filing cabinet. All of the initial components are made of steel sheets. These sheets are sheared to a certain size and holes are placed in specific locations. The sheets are then formed to their final shapes. Many CNC-like procedures are now used for processes that describe a series of movements and operations. Some of these include laser cutting, welding, friction stir welding, ultrasonic welding, plasma cutting, forming, fabric cutting, routing and even sawing.