Why is Machining Still an Important Technology?


Machining is a technology that has been around for a while now. Numerical Control Machines, which were the predecessors to CNC (Computer Numerical Control), were around in the 1940s.

Then in the 1970s CNC automation was added to this technology, enabling manufacturers to further improve on existing technologies and raise the bar regarding their manufacturing process. This allowed computer precision and design to be assimilated into workshops and the factory floor to create higher quality goods at a lower cost.

Although machining is not a brand new technology, it is still very important and relevant today. Here are the three main reasons why so many manufacturing companies rely on CNC machining for their manufacturing process:

  • Machining is versatile: Machining can be used to create a wide variety of parts and products in different sizes, from a wide array of materials. This versatility is one of the reasons why machining has remained relevant for so many years.

  • Machining is precise: When parts or products need to be made to very precise specifications, machining is often the best option. This precision is why machining is still often in industries such as aerospace and medical device manufacturing.

  • Machining is reliable: Machined parts and products are typically very reliable, having had human error and variation eradicated during their production process. This reliability is one of the reasons why machining is still used in a variety of industries, including construction and automotive manufacturing.

  • Machining is safer: CNC machines are computer-controlled so that there is no need for an operator to be present when the machine is running and there is less likelihood of accidents.

  • Machining is cost-effective: There are several reasons machining increases efficiency and reduces costs, including automation, less waste and increased output.

Let’s look at each of these reasons why the machining industry is so important in more detail, and understand the benefits each provides.


Versatility of CNC Machining

Machining can be used to create a wide variety of parts and products, from small components to large structures. A CNC machine is highly versatile and can be programmed to create almost any kind of component. This makes it ideal for creating intricate parts that require a high degree of precision, such as tools and instruments.

CNC machines are also well-suited for making parts that must meet stringent dimensional tolerances, such as wheels and components for industrial machinery. In addition, a CNC machine can be used to produce large quantities of parts quickly and efficiently, making it an increasingly popular choice for manufacturers around the world.

Machining is also versatile in the types of materials it can work with, including metals, plastics, and composites.

The most common metals used are aluminium and steel, however other metals such as brass, bronze, and copper can also be machined using CNC milling. As for plastics, the most popular ones used are acrylic and polycarbonate. There are also a wide variety of composites that can be machined using CNC technology, including carbon fibre and fibreglass. Even ceramics can sometimes be used.

With the help of experienced CNC machinists, manufacturers can produce high-quality parts and components from a wide range of materials.

The versatility of CNC machines makes them ideal for use in a wide range of industries, from automotive manufacturing to aerospace engineering. A CNC machine can be used to produce parts with complex shapes and designs that would be difficult or impossible to create using other methods.


Precision with Machining

In today’s manufacturing industry, speed and precision are vital for success. CNC technology is far more precise than hand-crafting and it allows companies to produce custom made parts much faster. CNC machines are programmed to follow precise instructions, ensuring that each part is produced to the exact specifications. In fact, CNC is so precise that it can produce parts that are nearly identical to their originals.

This level of precision is essential for industries like aerospace and automotive, where even the smallest deviation can have major consequences.


Reliability of CNC Machines

Another benefit of CNC machining is that it improves quality and therefore reliability. The process of cutting and milling allows companies to improve the precision and accuracy of their products, which means that they can produce better quality parts without sacrificing productivity.

CNC machining is much more accurate and reliable than traditional methods. This is because the machine is controlled by a computer programme. The computer precisely controls the movement of the cutting tool, resulting in consistent cuts and a high level of accuracy. In addition, it is much faster than traditional methods, making it ideal for large production runs.

As a result, CNC machining is the preferred choice for many industries where reliability and accuracy are essential. CNC machining is so reliable that it is often used to create critical components for aerospace and medical applications.


Safety for Workers

Employee safety is a top priority for any company, and CNC machining has helped to improve safety in the workplace by reducing the risk of accidents. Unlike traditional machining methods, CNC machining allows the machine to cut safely without the need for human intervention.

CNC machines are computer-controlled, meaning that there is no need for an operator to be present when the machine is running and no longer any need for workers to be in close proximity to the machine while it is in operation.

This eliminates the risk of injury from falling materials (e.g. metal chips damaging eyes or hands) or high temperatures, as the machine can be monitored remotely. As a result, CNC machines offer a safe and efficient way to complete tasks that would otherwise be both dangerous and time-consuming.


Cost Effective for the Modern Manufacturing Industry

CNC machines can operate around the clock, meaning that companies can increase production without increasing costs. They are also able to produce reliable, repeatable and precise components in a much shorter period of time than traditional methods would require, increasing output tremendously.

Additionally, CNC technology helps reduce waste because it reduces errors which lead to wasted materials and time.

With all these benefits, you can see why CNC technology has become such an integral part of the modern manufacturing industry and why it is still such an important technology.

References: Thompson Precision