In modern manufacturing, CNC or Computerized Numerical Control plays a considerable role. In fact, the market share for these machines is expected to reach $117.17 billion by 2027 across the globe. It’s likely to replace manual manufacturing equipment once the technology becomes less expensive and education on CNC programming is accessible.
What is CNC?
Computerized Numerical Control is a catch-all term for a manufacturing process that uses coding and pre-programmed software to move equipment. A properly programmed and loaded CNC file can control machinery, such as turning mills, lathes, and grinders. A machinist must understand mathematics, technical drawing, mechanical design, and coding to operate CNCs.
What is a CNC Machine?
A CNC machine’s sole purpose is to automate the machining process by allowing technicians or laborers free time to focus on the outcome by fixing or maintaining the technology.
Modern CNC machines will use a G-code language that states the feed rate, location, speed, and coordination of the product and use CAD or CAM software to translate code into something the machine can use. For example, if you were planning to buy a secondhand engine lathe, a programmer must run software compatible with that model to complete a task.
How Will CNC Machinists Impact Manufacturing in the Future?
A CNC machinist currently only requires an associate’s degree or certificate to get started, but most businesses will train in-house. They will be able to do the following tasks after graduating:
- Read sketches, blueprints, CAD, and CAM files.
- Set up, operate, and dismantle automatic, manual, or CNC machine tools.
- Align, adjust, and secure cutting tools.
- Monitor the speed and feed of the machines.
- Know grinding, shaping, drilling, milling, and turning tools.
- Examine, measure and test to ensure products aren’t detectable.
- Smooth surfaces by hand or machine.
CNC machinists won’t have to code CNC machines specifically, but they’ll become an even bigger asset if they can do so. Repair techs and IT professionals will also be needed. CNC machines will change the manufacturing business by providing more entry-level positions.
How Will CNC Technology Impact Manufacturing?
1. Lightening Quick Product Creation
Whereas a human technician or part creator can only estimate the time it will take for a job to finish, a CNC machine can be predicted to the minute. For example, if a part takes 5 minutes to complete, then the next part will also take 5 minutes as long as the equipment stays sharp.
2. Maximizes Efficiency and Operating Costs
CNC technology will enable businesses to create prototypes, design blueprints, and improve the manufacturer’s ability to ship the parts of the highest quality. This form of mass production will improve revenue while keeping customer satisfaction high. CNC machines only need to be turned off for maintenance or repairs, so the production line never has to take breaks.
3. Automatization and Improved Quality
Automatization and mass production has the reputation of producing lower-quality products, but CNC machines are so precise that they can create items with more care than human hands. CAM and CAD software can effortlessly make beautiful machine parts consistently.
4. Safety Improvements
On-the-job accidents will reach record lows once CNC manufacturing equipment becomes more widespread. No one has to put their hands near the machine while it’s in operation, as the software initiates movements based on memory. A machinist’s only worry is if the software wasn’t well programmed, the blades are dull, or the machine stops working entirely.
5. Duplication Accuracy
Many manufacturing companies must create the same part repeatedly, but it’s nearly impossible for a human technician to produce a complete duplicate every time. CNC machines can make identical components and eliminate errors to make sure no material is wasted.
CNC Technology and Home Use
Although the use of CNC technology is limited to a large warehouse setting, it will continue to evolve until it’s affordable for everyday use. When this happens, CNC will disrupt the manufacturing industry, similar to how home printers made printing companies practically obsolete. Soon, the average person will be able to create airplane parts from a small device.