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CNC machine basically Computer Numerical Control machine which particularly points at the involvement of computers in controlling machine tools operations. Initially it may seem like a regular functioning PC; however, it is unique and well developed software that is used to control machine tools.
Here, the machine tools work through the numerical control, as mentioned above. Again, the computer software or rather program that is employed is customized for an object and then the machines are programmed accordingly with the Computer Numerical Control language. This is often referred to as the G- code.
Now this particular code is used to operate the features which include feed rate; coordination, speed as well as location. This particular procedure also helps the computer control the exact position as well as the velocity.
Some of the advantages and disadvantages of CNC machine are mentioned below for your information:-
- When CNC machine is programmed correctly, it is usually 100% accurate with what they produce. They produce parts to maximise accuracy. Provide good positional accuracy and repeatability. Provide a high degree of quality because of their accuracy and their ability to reuse programs.
- CNC machines are programmed with a design which can then be manufactured hundreds or even thousands of times. Each manufactured product will be exactly the same.
- CNC machines are not all that difficult to use once you learn how. For example: Complex jigs and fixtures are not required in all areas since fewer jigs are used, the actual storage requirements are reduced. Lower tooling costs since there is less need for complex jigs and fixtures. Once the first piece has passed inspection, minimal inspection is required on subsequent parts. Advanced machine control and programming capabilities allow for complex machining operations to be more easily.
- Modern design software allows the designer to simulate the manufacture of his/her idea. There is no need to make a prototype or a model. This saves time and money.
- Using CNC machines effectively reduces the amount of time take to produce furniture items. CNC machines enable the operator to make changes or improvements with a minimum of delay or expense. Reduce waste as errors due to operator fatigue, interruptions and other factors are less likely to occur. Improve production planning as they can often perform work at one setting that would normally require several conventional machines. Reduce lead time as a result of lower tooling costs.
- CNC machines can be used continuously 24 hours a day, 365 days a except for occasional maintenance time.
- Less skilled/trained people can operate CNC machines unlike manual lathes/milling machines etc. which need skilled people to operate.
- CNC machines can be updated by improving the software used to run the machine.
- Training in the use of CNCs is available through the use of ‘virtual software’. This is software that allows the operator to practice using the CNC machine on the screen of a computer. The software is similar to a computer game which can be fun learning process and makes it easy to learn.
- CNC machines can be programmed by advanced design software such as Pro/DESKTOP®, enabling the manufacture of products that cannot be made by manual machines, even those used by skilled designers / engineers.
- One person can supervise many CNC machines at once they are programmed, they can usually be left to work by themselves. Sometimes only the cutting tools need replacing occasionally.
- As with any business, costs are always a factor. CNC machinery costs quite a lot more than conventional machinery. It does not eliminate the need for expensive tools. Parts (machines and tooling) are costly and their purchase requires extensive justification. It is expensive to repair.
- CNC machines do not totally eliminate errors. Operators can still push the wrong buttons, make incorrect alignments and fail to locate parts properly on a jig.
- The CNC machine operator only needs basic training and skills, enough to supervise several machines. In this bargain, people lost interest in traditional lathes which leads to wastage of many skilled workers who have been trained in other lathe machines.