The manufacturing of industrial parts has evolved greatly over the last century. There was a time when all items were at least partially created by hand regardless of how many need to be manufactured. Assembly lines, new metals and materials, and new forms of power eventually lead to semi-automated forms of production. Unfortunately, this type of production was very expensive and very inflexible. The later development of a numerical control machine gave manufacturers the ability to use a single machine repeatedly with the same settings to slowly create perfectly identical pieces out of metal or wood. These original machines required numerous manual adjustments and sometimes multiple operators just to generate a single part.
How CNC Changed the Game
The development of computers and other new technologies lead to the invention of the the computer numerical control (CNC) machine. This was similar to the original numerical control machines except that a computer allowed the operator to enter in a sequence of commands that would be executed with unmatched precision. A single CNC machine gives companies the ability to develop a program that can be executed in exactly the same fashion automatically at any time. The ability to develop a program ahead of time with other pieces of software allowed for rapid prototyping of new products and a reduction in errors and wasted materials.
One of the largest changes that a CNC machine brings to a business is the ability to reduce the amount of staff required for creating parts. A single skilled operator can program and maintain one or more units. This can result in a single worker overseeing an array of machines that are constantly producing parts. A CNC machine is also much more dynamic than previous types of manufacturing tools and can be adjusted to cut a variety of materials or to make a wide range of different patterns, holes, or designs.
Current Trend on CNC
Modern companies are able to use a CNC machine to create highly detailed parts that are used in many different industries. Everything from engine parts to surgical tools can be created with the right CNC program and materials. New technologies have allowed machines to continue to evolve. More efficient cutting techniques, more advanced computer control systems, and better machine designs take the process of generating parts automatically to a new level. The newest machines are able to run for days at a time without maintenance and are capable of delicate work that was once only achievable by hand.