Computer numerical controlled (CNC) machine tools are the best tools to use for automated machining. The machines can be as simple as a drilling machine that drills a hole repeatedly or they can be huge complex devices that can machine large cylinder blocks in multiple designs.
CNC machines can be operated either unmanned or with a few operators manning a production cell of many machines. Once the program that is used to give the machining detail and the tools to be used, etc. is given, then the machinery can run by itself. They will change the tools in the ordered sequence; turn the component around so that a fresh face is exposed, and so on. Because these machines can run by themselves for hours at a time, they save you manpower. Usually roughing operations are done on other machines to save on productivity.
Because they are computer programmed, CNC machining is more accurate, consistent and precise than human operated machining as this system doesn’t require human adjustment for its settings. There are no errors in CNC machining as the machinery operates exactly as the computer programs it to. This enables complicated machining tasks to be performed repetitively and the finished product will be the same each time.
CNC machine operation is relatively easy to learn and to set up as you just have to enter the instructions into a computer program. You can also recall the machine’s previous settings instantly. This process allows you to save time as lengthy manual changeovers are not required.
CNC machines have two tables and an automatic pallet changer. This saves valuable time as it allows components to be machined on one table while a fresh component can be loaded on another. There are various types of CNC machines available such as: turning; drilling; grinding; and machining centers that perform milling, drilling, boring, tapping, and contour operations.
Although CNC machining is used by many types of industries it can also be used for wood working, plastic forming and metal fabricating jobs at home. A typical CNC system for home use may consist of a CNC mill or a lathe, a 4th axis rotary table, a computer, CNC software, and a set of machining accessories and tools. This type of machining is ideal for people who need to manufacture many small identical parts. CNC machines are of two axes, three axes, five axes, etc. in addition, special attachments can be used to perform special operations.