There was a time when you’d enter a factory floor and see a crowd of engineers operating equipment like robotic routers, textile cutters, vertical millers, thermal benders, and center lathes. Today, thanks to CNC machining, just one skilled technician can run many machines.
What is CNC?
Short for computer numerical control, CNC is the automated control of 3D printers and machining tools through a computer.
Manufacturers use CNC machines to produce machined items much more efficiently. For example, a CNC machine that processes composite does so automatically per programmed specifications without requiring direct control from an engineer.
Aside from being less labour-intensive, CNC machining is faster and more accurate than conventional machining because of a lower probability of human error.
1. CNC Textile Kit Cutting
Textile cutting has significantly benefited from CNC technology, especially when developed by a dedicated and professional team with unparalleled technical expertise in automation and robotic technology. Typically, textile cutting is expensive, slow, and labour intensive, primarily when it serves high volume projects.
However, thanks to CNC cutting services technology, manufacturers can develop cost-effective and high-precision textile kits with less fuss. Some of the most common materials that benefit from this process include:
- Carbon fiber fabric
- Fiberglass fabric
- Pool liners
- Infusion consumables
2. Fusion with Computer-Aided Design (CAD) Software
Essentially, computer-aided design (CAD) is the use of technology to enhance the creation and optimization of a design. And one of the most significant innovations in CNC machining is the use of computer-aided design (CAD) software to digitize plans for use on CNC machines in a process called computer-aided manufacturing (CAM).
With CAM, the right company can use their fabric cutting technology and coordinate measuring machine (CMM) to digitize fabric and core patterns more accurately on CNC machines.
3. CNC Robotic Router
CNC robotic routers greatly enhance the composite tooling and trimming process. For example, a 3-axis CNC router can expertly shape and cut materials such as wood, SAN foam, PVC foam, tooling boards, plastics with a wide range of tools for an optimized finish and reduced cutting time.
Thanks to CNC technology, the 3-axis robotic router can quickly produce core kits, mold components, individual parts, and temporary fixtures.
Meanwhile, a 5-axis CNC mill uses its larger working envelope to manage big milling projects with surprising accuracy. Usually, a small but capable staff is on-site to supervise production with a 5-axis CNC mill.
4. CNC Laser Cutting
CNC laser cutting technology allows the right composite fabrication companies to cost-effectively cut materials such as acrylic, paper, wood, foam, leather, cardboard, etc., with laser precision.
5. Acrylic Bending
CNC machining also comes in handy for acrylic bending. Industry leaders use CNC controlled thermal benders to modify plastic shapes as long as 70 inches with angles up to 179 degrees. With CNC machining, composite fabrication solutions that use acrylic bending are more time- and cost-efficient.
These are five exciting areas where CNC machining has revolutionized manufacturing. As the CNC machining economies of scale continue to deliver dividends, expect the technology to play an even more significant role in manufacturing in the future.