Metalworking and machining are laborious, time-consuming tasks if undertaken manually. If a metal fabrication business receives a lot of orders and projects from clients, even teams of tool-wielding humans simply cannot handle the volume and precision to fulfill quality jobs.
The need to manufacture hundreds to thousands of identical parts demands a high level of automation. Fortunately, Computer Numerical Control (CNC) systems for milling machines exist and are more than capable of handling large-scale fabrication projects with relative ease.
CNC machines rely on pre-set programs that automate the performance of specific tasks. These devices operate with high production capacities without sacrificing the quality of the work. As they are computerized, CNC machines can work on tasks continuously and consistently.
The earliest incarnation of CNC machines originated in the 1940s when John T. Parsons was working with MIT to produce aircraft parts for the US Air Force. But it wasn’t until 1972 that the concept became truly useful, after the development of Computer Aided Design (CAD) and Computer Aided Machining (CAM) and their integration into manufacturing processes.
Metal fabrication industries benefited the most from developments in CNC machining technology. Offering the kind of efficiency no human could ever achieve, CNC machines are capable of a wide array of applications. Fabrication industries employ cutting machines using flame or plasma to cut metals; CNC drilling and milling machines that can be outfitted with tools for tapping, boring, and beveling; and other machines that offer shaping, deforming, and knurling features for specific purposes.
The precision and repeatability of CNC are among its greatest assets. Machinists can operate machines manually to drill, cut, shape, etc., but they’re still human and will cause errors due to slight miscalculations or fatigue. Automating the process with computerized input for a particular job leaves the machine doing all the math and hard work. The sheer amount of time saved with CNC machines already boosts its reliability factor.
Complex metal forming tasks prove incredibly challenging and inefficient without computer-aided machinery. Thanks to CNC machines, metal fabricators can drastically reduce their production time and costs for a significant increase in profit.