Types of CNC machines
As stated, CNC has touched almost every facet of manufacturing. Many machining processes have been improved and enhanced through the use of CNC. Let's look at some of the specific fields and place the emphasis on the manufacturing processes enhanced by CNC machine usage.
In the metal removal industry:
Machining processes that have traditionally been done on conventional machine tools that are possible (and in some cases improved) with CNC machining centers include all kinds of milling (face milling, contour milling, slot milling, etc.), drilling, tapping, reaming, boring, and counter boring.
In similar fashion, all kinds of turning operations like facing, boring, turning, grooving, knurling, and threading are done on CNC turning centers.
There are all kinds of special "off-shoots" of these two machine types including CNC milling machines, CNC drill and tap centers, and CNC lathes.
Grinding operations of all kinds like outside diameter (OD) grinding and internal diameter (ID) grinding are also being done on CNC grinders.CNC has even opened up a new technology when it comes to grinding.Contour grinding (grinding a contour in a similar fashion to turning), which was previously infeasible due to technology constraints is now possible (almost commonplace) with CNC grinders.
In the metal fabrication industry:
In manufacturing terms, fabrication commonly refers to operations that are performed on relatively thin plates. Think of a metal filing cabinet. All of the primary components are made of steel sheets. These sheets are sheared to size, holes are punched in appropriate places, and the sheets are bent (formed) to their final shapes. Again, operations commonly described as fabrication operations include shearing, flame or plasma cutting, punching, laser cutting, forming, and welding. Truly, CNC is heavily involved in almost every facet of fabrication.
CNC back gages are commonly used with shearing machines to control the length of the plate being sheared. CNC lasers and CNC plasma cutters are also used to bring plates to their final shapes. CNC turret punch presses can hold a variety of punch-and-die combinations and punch holes in all shapes and sizes through plates. CNC press brakes are used to bend the plates into their final shapes.
In the electrical discharge machining industry:
Electrical discharge machining (EDM) is the process of removing metal through the use of electrical sparks which burn away the metal. CNC EDM comes in two forms, vertical EDM and Wire EDM. Vertical EDM requires the use of an electrode (commonly machined on a CNC machining center) that is of the shape of the cavity to be machined into the workpiece. Picture the shape of a plastic bottle that must be machined into a mold. Wire EDM is commonly used to make punch and die combinations for dies sets used in the fabrication industry. EDM is one of the lesser known CNC operations because it is so closely related to making tooling used with other manufacturing processes.
In the woodworking industry
As in the metal removal industry, CNC machines are heavily used in woodworking shops. Operations include routing (similar to milling) and drilling. Many woodworking machining centers are available that can hold several tools and perform several operations on the workpiece being machined.
Other types of CNC machines
Many forms of lettering and engraving systems use CNC technology. Waterjet machining uses a high pressure water jet stream to cut through plates of material. CNC is even used in the manufacturing of many electrical components. For example, there are CNC coil winders, and CNC terminal location and soldering machines.
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CNC machining offers unparalleled precision for producing metal and plastic parts.
We combine the latest CNC machining and turning processes with proprietary technology to deliver high quality, on-demand parts. Our typical tolerance accuracy ranges from 0.005″ – 0.001″, depending on customer specs.
‣ 5 Axis Machining up to 26″
‣ 4 Axis Machining up to 36″
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