A subtractive manufacturing process in which computerized controls and machine tools are used to remove layers of material and produce a desired part, computer numerical control (CNC) machining is one of the most widely used manufacturing techniques.
After World War II, however, automation took hold, and cnc machining manufacturer machining as a method of manufacturing became a viable option for manufacturers. Richard Kegg created the "Cincinnati Milacron Hydrotel" in 1952, and it is widely considered to be the world's first modern steel cnc machining milling machine. And, in the face of a slew of disruptions, including the explosion of "smart" technology and the COVID-19 pandemic (and the lingering effects on consumer behavior), manufacturers are increasingly looking for ways to increase productivity and flexibility while simultaneously lowering costs.
This challenge necessitates the widespread adoption of new technologies, some of which are expected to gain traction across the industry in the coming year, in order to be met. Five trends are on the horizon that will almost certainly shape the direction of cnc design machining in 2021, as shown in the chart below.
1. Increase the number of axes for greater cost savings.
While many machines now include a moving bed, a 3-axis milling center maintains its position even as the cutter moves around on it. The bed of a 3-axis machine moves linearly along two axes, while the spindle moves up and down along the third axis, as is typical in the industry. By incorporating a rotational axis, 4-axis machines are able to cut with greater precision and detail. Reduced setup times and an increased number of axes will result in greater savings for manufacturers in the cnc turning machining process. Most of the time, the machine table is equipped with a fourth-axis rotary, and the part is mounted to the face of the fourth-axis rotary. As a result, 4-axis machines are particularly well suited for the production of medical devices and parts with complex geometries. Fifth and finally, five-axis milling machines are the pinnacle of milling capability. They are capable of producing extremely detailed cuts at unheard-of speeds, and they allow for micromachining to take place. In spite of the fact that 4- and 5-axis CNC Swiss Machining machines have been commercially available for some time, many manufacturers are only now able to afford them due to recent financial developments.
2. Tooling solutions that are universal in nature
Vacuum fixtures, also known as vacuum plates, are used to hold projects in place that are difficult to secure or that may easily deform. As a result, they have proven to be prohibitively expensive, and most manufacturing teams prefer to avoid using them unless absolutely necessary to do so. It is now possible to custom-configure a single part for multiple operations thanks to the introduction of universal bases such as the Pierson SmartVac and the Blue Photon UV workholding system, which are both available from Pierson. Using universal soft jaws, Matrix Innovations developed a similar solution that can be customized and used for multiple operations.
3. Expanded application of robotics
However, while collaborative robots, also known as "cobots," have been in use for quite some time in CNC Machining Prototype machining, it is only recently that they have gained widespread acceptance. Cobots, in contrast to industrial robots, are intended to work in close proximity to human employees. Vision systems can be attached to cobots, teaching them to see, recognize, pick, and place parts in a machine shop, similar to how a Tesla car has vision systems that can recognize cars and pedestrians. The fact that these robots require little in the way of programming and training means that they are incredibly versatile and require little in the way of initial time investment. In the long run, it is anticipated that this technology will help to increase worker productivity while also lowering costs by reducing the likelihood of human error.
4. Developments in the field of workforce training
The incorporation of 3D CAD viewers into standard machine platforms by equipment manufacturers is becoming more commonplace. The primary visual guide for operation setup and progression, and it can even be configured to include troubleshooting videos, is displayed on this screen.