All across the world, millions of machines once counted on to create critical parts and components are being replaced by computer controlled alternatives. From press tool manufacture to the machining of military grade construction components and every other industry across the board, human control and interaction is slowly but surely becoming a thing of the past.
This is particularly evident in the way in which CNC Computer Numerical Control machines are becoming something of a new standard across almost every contemporary manufacturing industry. The traditional alternatives like routers, shaping machines, centre lathes and vertical millers appear very much to be on borrowed time – the same also being saidfor the engineers required to operate them. Even in instances where the computer control alternatives aren’t already up and running, chances are it’s only a matter of time before automation takes over.
Now, depending on which side of the fence you position yourself on, this could be either a wonderful or woeful eventuality. If you happen to find yourself on the business side of things however, it’s an evolution of nothing but enormous advantages the likes of which are practically limitless in value.
Here’s a quick overview of just a few of the reasons why CNC Machines are viewed as nothing less than a godsend by so many industry players:
- First of all, the fact that CNC machines can be left in operation 24 hours a day and every day of the year means that productivity and output can be increased exponentially. Human engineers can of course do a fantastic job, but don’t exactly have the same kind of capacity to work the whole year round without the need for downtime.
- Speaking of downtime, the average CNC machine will statistically require considerably less time ‘offline’ than a human engineer, for whom things like annual leave and sickness more often than not cannot be avoided.
- When it comes to consistency of output, there simply isn’t a human engineer in the world that can rival a high quality CNC machine. Regardless of whether the machine is programmed to create 10, 100 or even 10,000 copies of the same component, each and every copy will be flawlessly identical in every way. Or in other words, human error and inconsistencies are eliminated entirely.
- CNC machines can also play a role in reducing labour costs and simplifying both recruitment and training processes. The reason being that while it may take an extremely talented and experienced engineer to operate a manual milling machine, controlling and overseeing a CNC machine is much simpler. As such, finding workers for the job and training them is made considerably easier.
- An investment in high quality CNC machinery is a long-term investment of exceptional value for money. The reason being that on-going improvements and updates can be made along the way using simple software upgrades, improving performance and output without having to invest in new machinery.
- Many CNC machines come complete with demonstration/virtual software packages, which can be used by their operators for training purposes. This not only makes training more accessible and affordable, but gives the machines’ operators every opportunity to practice and enhance their abilities to the highest possible level.
- The software used to power CNC machines can be used to create and execute the most extraordinary designs that would be simply impossible to produce manually. Even in the hands of the most skilled and experienced engineers, there are so many complex, intricate and highly detailed designs within the capabilities of CNC machines that would be impossible to replicate.
- The use of high quality design software in conjunction with CNC machines allows designers to come up with accurate and highly detailed simulations of the intended products for manufacture. As such, this can save a great deal of time and money that would otherwise be required to create physical models or prototypes.
- Whereas the physical limitations of a human engineer mean that only one traditional milling machine can be operated by one person at any one time, a single engineer can easily oversee and control several CNC machines once they are up and running.
- Last but not least, by removing the human element from the equation when it comes to using CNC machines, you also immediately eliminate the vast majority of health and safety risks that accompany making use of traditional machinery. As the engineer doesn’t specifically play a direct role in the manufacturing of the components, they remain out of harm’s way.