Different types of CNC machines

CNC MachineCNC Machinery Review - CNC is an acronym for computer numerical control.

As the name suggests, it is a computer controller installed machines that makes it possible for them to be operated automatically.

Various commands and instructions required for a machine with CNC to make products are encoded on a storage medium. In other words, machines with CNC are automatically operated as opposed to other machines that are operated manually using levels and wheels.

Robots are typical examples of machines with computer numerical control. Commands and instructions for their operations are encoded on a computer.

They receive commands from the computer and carry out the specific instructions they receive.

CNC machines are used in various industries especially in the manufacturing industry. CNC machines are a perfect way of combing the software and manufacturing technologies. 

The use of CNC technology in the production industry or any other industry helps to save time and reduce the use of energy. It is therefore an eco-friendly technology. It also increases output and reduces the reliance of human labour force. CNC machinery is not a 21st century inventions. Below is a brief history of CNC machines.

A brief history of CNC machine

As it is said above, CNC machinery is not invented in the 21st century. The contemporary time CNC is an improvement on the previous NC machinery. NC is acronym for numerically control (machines). The major difference between CNC and NC is that there was not the application of computer and it could not be reprogrammed to meet the requirements of the manufacturers. In other words, it lacked flexibility in its use and thus, production was very straight cut. NC machines were first created in the 1940s and 1950s. In these moderns of NC machines, the controls to follow points installed into the system were moved by motors used in modifying the existing tools. However, with time, the system was improved on. The analogue and digital computers were introduced and this gave rise to CNC machinery used today in the various sectors especially the manufacturing sectors. The introduction of computers to NC was an epoch making events as it helped to revolutionize the processes of machining.

CNC machinery today plays an important role in the industrial system of today. With it, a product can easily be designed and manufactured. Unlike NC machinery, manufacturers can reprogram CNC machines to meet their requirements. Whether you use them overnight or not just for few hours, they are free from any intervention. Once you give the command, the machines can work on their own without requiring your presence. You can do other things or even sleep while the machines create the products themselves. Users will be able to know when things have gone wrong with the machine thanks to the development of error detection software.

The modern CNC machines are available in automated design. The machines are controlled using CAM (which is an acronym for computer-aided manufacturing) programs and CAD (abbreviated as CAD) programs. A computer file is generated by these programs. This file contains encoded commands and it is loaded into the CNC machinery for production after it has been interpreted for the operation of a particular machine via a post processor.

This design eliminates or reduces the use of paperwork as it does not require to be written down. Rather, software is used to design the product or object after which it is utilized for manufacturing. It is a perfect example of paperless organization. Manufacturers are able to do both curve and straight cuts with CNC machining. It is also possible to create three dimensional structures using the modern computer numerically controlled machines.

Examples of CNC machines

As mentioned above, CNC machinery has a wide application. It is used in various manufacturing industries and other industries. Given this, there are different kinds of CNC machinery. In fact, there are as many CNC tools as there are many goods to be produced. Some of the common CNC machines and tools are:

Examples of CNC machines
  • mills
  • lathes
  • plasma cutting
  • electric discharge machining (EDM)
  • sinker EDM
  • water jet cutters
  • milling machines
  • hot wire foam cutters
  • 3D printing
  • cylindrical grinders
  • oxy-fuel
  • induction hardening machines
  • submerged welding and many mores

Tool/machine crashing

It is possible for a crash to occur in a CNC machine. Sometimes, the machine can move in a manner that harms the tool or parts of the tools being machined. This sometime may cause the cutting tool, vises, accessory clamps and fixtures to break or bend or cause the entire machine to damage by breaking drive screws, bending guide rails and causing structural components to deform or crack under strain. This is what is referred to as a crash. If the crash is mild, the entire tool may not be damage. But the part being machined can be damaged by mild crash. But strong crash can damage the entire machine. In other words, the severity of damage depends to a greater extent on how strong or mild the crash is.

However, in the modernized CNC certain measures were taken to reduce crash. For example, in some CNC machine system, collision is avoided or detected using power draw sensors or torque sensors on the drive system to spot strain that are abnormal when the machine is supposed to move and not to cut. The absolute position sensor can also be used to detect or avoid collision by using it to verify that motion has occurred.

Advantages of CNC machinery

One of the advantages of modern CNC is the reduction of human intervention in the manufacturing of goods. In some cases, there is a total removal of human intervention in several steps of manufacturing. CNC machinery also helps in improving the quality of goods manufactured. Some of the errors that occur during manufacturing have been reduced greatly or removed completely thanks to the error detecting software introduced in CNC machines. CNC gives value to the manufacturers' time as little or no time is spent on manufacturing and rework. There is intensified efficiency in the final goods produced via CNC machines. CNC machines are eco-friendly as they reduce the use more energy. 

CNC Machine price

CNC machine prices range from £2000 up to £50 000 and more. Below we have provide a few prices just to give you an idea of what to expect:

CNC machine Prices
CNC Machine Type / Model / Make Price
Lathe / TMC12 / Nakamura £16 000
MILL / VMC800XP / Bridgeport £19 000
Syil X6 plus CNC Milling Machine with 4th axis £12 000
Mikron VCP600 CNC milling machine, High speed, £22,500 plus VAT(20312) £27 000
Sabreforce Plasma Cutter 10ft X 5ft £9 580


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