Busted! Don’t Believe These CNC Machining Myths!
A CNC machine uses computer software to control equipment such as a lathe or mill, allowing for incredible precision and producing complex parts with tight tolerances. For decades, custom machined parts have been employed in practically every industry.
However, as manufacturing can be an intimidating space for the inexperienced, there are several misconceptions regarding CNC machining out there, giving people the wrong impression.
So, to help clear off these misconceptions, Affinity Manufacturing Ltd. has debunked three of the most widely believed myths about CNC machining.
Myth 1: CNC machining is expensive
Although CNC machining may have been impractically expensive near its inception, in the 1940s and 1950s, technological advancements and improvements in the machines have led to lower costs across the board. Similarly, advancements and increasing availability of Computer-Aided Manufacturing (CAM) software have played an identical role in decreasing costs. Advancements we see today have come in the form of increased automation and features which have reduced labour and cycle times, ultimately driving down operating costs. Additionally, CNC machining is one of the manufacturing methods that best leverage economies of scale by diving operational costs over large volume production runs. As a result, CNC machining is commonly the most cost-effective manufacturing solution, especially when dealing with high volume production.
Myth 2: CNC machining is fully automated
The term CNC machining does denote the automated control of machining tools; however, the process is not completely automatic as you might have thought. The process of CNC machining leverages a great deal of automation to ensure consistency in quality and accuracy, but engineers cannot yet simply start the machine, leave, and come back to a perfect product. Although CNC operators and professionals do not have to watch over the product for the entirety of the production process, they do need to be available to perform a variety of maintenance and operational tasks such as recalibrating machine tools when needed, measuring workpieces, monitoring cycles, replace tools, among other necessary maintenance activities.
All in all, CNC machines are not completely automated as the name might suggest; however, with a small degree of monitoring from a skilled operator, CNC machines can achieve a consistent quality that resembles a completely automated production process.
Myth 3: CNC machines can make anything
There is some truth about the above statement as the range of capabilities present in CNC machines today are at times unimaginable, bringing designs to life with precision and accuracy that had been previously thought of as impossible. That said, even today’s most state-of-the-art CNC machines have their limitations. For that reason, it is important to understand the capabilities of your equipment in both the designing and manufacturing process. The factors that influence a CNC machine’s capabilities are not only machine restrictions such as range of motion or cutting envelope. However, at times, factors outside the scope of the machine can restrict its ability to manufacture a certain part, such as part geometry, tooling, and material type, to name a few. Nevertheless, with increasing advancements in CNC machines and the industry, we hope to see this myth mould into a fact.
If you’re looking to steer clear of these myths, reach out to Affinity Manufacturing Ltd. We are a leading CNC machine shop in Vancouver, BC, that has been serving the industry since 2000 and are focused on customer satisfaction. We have a comprehensive state-of-the-art facility capable of handling miniature components to large mechanical parts and assemblies.
We serve across Surrey, Vancouver, Richmond, Coquitlam, Abbotsford, Chilliwack, Burnaby, Squamish, Seattle, and the surrounding areas.