Staff Writer. CNC machining is a term commonly used in manufacturing and industrial applications, but exactly what does the acronym CNC stand for and what is a CNC machine?
The term CNC stands for 'computer numerical control', and the CNC machining definition is that it is a subtractive manufacturing process which typically employs computerized controls and machine tools to remove layers of material from a stock piece—known as the blank or workpiece—and produces a custom-designed part. This process is suitable for a wide range of materials, including metals, plasticswood, glassfoam, and composites, and finds application in a variety of industries, such as large CNC machining and CNC machining aerospace parts.
When speaking in terms of the machine itself, the CNC machine definition is that it represents the actual programmable machine that is capable of autonomously performing the operations of CNC machining. Subtractive manufacturing processes, such as CNC machining, are often presented in contrast to additive manufacturing processessuch as 3D printing, or formative manufacturing processes, such as liquid injection molding.
While subtractive processes remove layers of material from the workpiece to produce custom shapes and designs, additive processes assemble layers of material to produce the desired form and formative processes deform and displace stock material into the desired shape.
The automated nature of CNC machining enables the production of high precision and high accuracy, simple parts and the cost-effectiveness when fulfilling one-off and medium-volume production runs. However, while CNC machining demonstrates certain advantages over other manufacturing processes, the degree of complexity and intricacy attainable for part design and the cost-effectiveness of producing complex parts is limited.
While each type of manufacturing process has its advantages and disadvantages, this article focuses on the CNC machining process, outlining the basics of the process, and the various components and tooling of the CNC machine sometimes incorrectly known as a C and C machine.
Additionally, this article explores various mechanical CNC machining operations and presents alternatives to the CNC machining process. Evolving from the numerical control NC machining process which utilized punched tape cards, CNC machining is a manufacturing process which utilizes computerized controls to operate and manipulate machine and cutting tools to shape stock material—e.
While the CNC machining process offers various capabilities and operations, the fundamental principles of the process remain largely the same throughout all of them. The basic CNC machining process includes the following stages:. Computer-aided design CAD software allows designers and manufacturers to produce a model or rendering of their parts and products along with the necessary technical specifications, such as dimensions and geometries, for producing the part or product.
For example, most CNC machine tooling is cylindrical therefore the part geometries possible via the CNC machining process are limited as the tooling creates curved corner sections. Additionally, the properties of the material being machined, tooling design, and workholding capabilities of the machine further restrict the design possibilities, such as the minimum part thicknesses, maximum part size, and inclusion and complexity of internal cavities and features.
The formatted CAD design file runs through a program, typically computer-aided manufacturing CAM software, to extract the part geometry and generates the digital programming code which will control the CNC machine and manipulate the tooling to produce the custom-designed part. CNC machines used several programming languages, including G-code and M-code. The most well-known of the CNC programming languages, general or geometric code, referred to as G-code, controls when, where, and how the machine tools move—e.
Miscellaneous function code, referred to as M-code, controls the auxiliary functions of the machine, such as automating the removal and replacement of the machine cover at the start and end of production, respectively. These preparations include affixing the workpiece directly into the machine, onto machinery spindlesor into machine vises or similar workholding devices, and attaching the required tooling, such as drill bits and end mills, to the proper machine components.
Initiating the program prompts the CNC machine to begin the CNC machining process, and the program guides the machine throughout the process as it executes the necessary machine operations to produce a custom-designed part or product. CNC machining processes can be performed in-house—if the company invests in obtaining and maintaining their own CNC equipment—or out-sourced to dedicated CNC machining service providers.
CNC machining is a manufacturing process suitable for a wide variety of industries, including automotive, aerospace, construction, and agriculture, and able to produce a range of products, such as automobile frames, surgical equipment, airplane engines, and hand and garden tools.
The process encompasses several different computer-controlled machining operations—including mechanical, chemical, electrical, and thermal processes—which remove the necessary material from the workpiece to produce a custom-designed part or product.
While chemical, electrical, and thermal machining processes are covered in a later section, this section explores some of the most common mechanical CNC machining operations including:. Drilling is a machining process which employs multi-point drill bits to produce cylindrical holes in the workpiece.
However, angular drilling operations can also be performed through the use of specialized machine configurations and workholding devices. Operational capabilities of the drilling process include counterboringcountersinking, reaming, and tapping.
Milling is a machining process which employs rotating multi-point cutting tools to remove material from the workpiece.Computer numerical control CNC has been incorporated into a variety of new technologies and machinery. One such machine of this sort that is used for a wide array of production processes is known as a CNC lathe.
Due to technological advancements, CNC lathes are quickly replacing some of the older and more traditionally used production lathes, such as the multispindle. CNC lathes come with a number of benefits. They can be easily set up and operated. They offer tremendous repeatability, along with top-notch accuracy in production. A CNC lathe is typically designed to utilize modern versions of carbide tooling and processes.
However, a programmer can manually design a part or tool path as well. The resulting G-Code computer file is then uploaded to the CNC machine, and the machine will then automatically produce the desired parts for which it was programmed to design.
A CNC lathe is controlled by a menu-type interface on a computer. The operator who manages the process can actually see a visual simulation of how the machine will function during the production phase. Thanks to this technology, the machine operator generally does not need to know as much about the specifics of the machine he or she oversees compared to what machine operators must know about more traditional lathes that require some manual labor.
CNC lathes are designed in a variety of ways, based on the manufacturer producing the machine. However, most have some significant similarities in their composition. A turret is a part of the machine that holds the tool holders and indexes them accordingly. The spindle is designed to hold the work piece. In addition, there are slides that allow the turret to move in multiple axes at the same time.
CNC machines are typically completely enclosed for health and safety reasons of any operators present. There has been considerable growth in the CNC machining industry, particularly when it comes to the design and use of CNC lathes.
Different lathe manufacturers utilize a variety of user interfaces, which can be a challenge to the operators. But these systems are mostly based on the same principles across the board since a CNC lathe is programmed to perform similar functions in terms of what it is intended to manufacture. So, it is expected that the operations of such machines will continue to improve and carry significant weight in this field. There are numerous use cases where lathe machine is used.
It ranges from industry like automotive, electronics, aerospace, firearm manufacturing, sporting and many more. One can use a CNC lathe machine for shearing out a metal and also to produce plane surfaces and screw threads. There are also ornamental lathe machine which are specially designed to work on intricate designs like 3-d products. In a CNC machine, the material is tightly secured using clamps and collets.
A lathe machine is also used for metalworks, wood turning and even glass work.Already inMercedes-Benz began using the newly developed twin-wire arc spraying technology for the 6. Inthe process was integrated into series production of the Mercedes V6 engines. Then inthe companies Gebr. When evaluating the efficiency of a vehicle, drivers are paying closer attention to fuel consumption now.
For a number of reasons, CO2 emissions are becoming more and more important as a factor, since they also form the basis for emission limits and subsidy programmes. As a result, the automotive industry is focusing on weight reduction measures and downsizing. Today, the efficiency of a motor vehicle can be increased in various ways. The quality of the cylinder surfaces, for example, has a major influence on the consumption of combustion engines.
After all, surface hardness, roughness and texture are not only the determining factors for fuel consumption but also the performance characteristics of the engine.
Up to 25 percent of fuel energy in the part-load operational range is required to overcome the engine's internal friction.
To reduce frictional losses on cylinder surfaces, Daimler AG developed an innovative thermal spraying technology that received several national and international awards, enabling the coating of cylinder bores of aluminium lightweight crank-cases for car engines using twin-arc spraying. The honing process also exposes pores in the material, which are able to retain oil and help optimise lubrication of the piston assembly.
All in all, the process enables to reduce mechanical friction loss by up to 50 percent whilst providing extremely high wear resistance. Although the coating process is considered extremely cost-effective and technologically superior, quality-determining parameters such as current, voltage, wire feed and process gas flow need to be carefully adjusted and matched to the coating procedure. InGebr. Initially, the process was used for exclusive small-batch series. With the entry into mid-sized batch production, a viable alternative to existing liner technology was born.
The production rules and criteria for the automotive industry had been fulfilled and thus the preconditions for high-volume production. To implement this next step, market-oriented solutions in terms of system supply and services were required. Meanwhile the technology is also used for the latest generation of 4-cylinder and 8-cylinder engines of Mercedes-AMG. InHELLER commissioned enhanced manufacturing systems and integrated the process, including the process steps for pre- and finish-machining, into the process chain of engine production, whilst ensuring the necessary high degree of process quality and dependability.
Today, the two partners see this as another award for a technology that has also had a share in winning the first F1 Constructor's Championship and the Drivers' Championship in By means of twin-wire arc spraying technology the cylinder surfaces in the aluminium crankcases are coated with an extremely thin layer based on an iron-carbon alloy.
The result is a very wear-resistant nano to ultrafine material structure with micropores, ensuring lubrication during operation.
As a result, heavy grey cast iron liners in the aluminium crankcases that can be several millimetres thick are eliminated. The result is a surface as smooth as glass, providing up to 50 percent less friction between piston, piston rings and cylinder surface and a weight reduction of several kilogrammes.
Meanwhile, the process incorporates numerous inventions and ideas and is protected by more than 90 patent families and more than 40 patents. And the machines are designed to allow other technologies to be integrated without major additional effort. First the primary technologies, which are within the mainstream. If the customer or the application requires additional technologies to be integrated, HELLER can achieve this, following a detailed examination of technical feasibility, flexibly, swiftly and without any overengineering - even at a later time.
The focus is always on per-piece costs, machining quality and process reliability. CP: Basically, there are two different scenarios: first, the customer already has one or more HELLER products and is confronted with various requirements. This can happen as part of the continuous improvement process, where process chains and throughput times have to be shortened.
Or the customer has received a major order, the per-piece costs of which could be reduced by integrating another process. Application engineering then reviews the viability of retrospective process integration, allowing for the fact that the customer is meant to be familiar with this technology already.
Secondly, the customer presents us with a specific application, where integration of a non-mainstream technology appears to make sense in terms of both quality and per-piece costs. Whichever scenario, HELLER has a wealth of application engineering experience for providing the customer with an optimal machine and process solution, also in the form of a multitasking concept.
For a complete machining operation, the customer pays only for what is actually required.Newer technology can deliver gains in productivity and profitability that quickly add up to justify a new investment. You may be surprised to learn that dollars are falling right out of your pocket. With the introduction of the first open architecture CNC control inOkuma has made significant advances into linking the machine tool control to everyday office duties, along with tracking and selection of parts just to name a few.
The OSP-P control allows connectivity to everyday personal computer functions such as network drives, software and communication. With a simple Ethernet cable the CNC control can be seamlessly integrated with routine tasks. Given that the control incorporates an industrial PC within its design, off-the-shelf components such as wireless keyboards, a barcode scanner and other USB components can be tied into machine control and processes.
Just a few examples: Part change-over can be simplified and streamlined by placing electronic documents on a network drive accessible from the CNC control.
Documents can be barcoded on a work order and this barcode can be scanned to select the program, process sheets and QC records, etc. The possibilities are endless, as even custom touchscreen applications can be performed through an Application Program Interface API. In the past 10 years, some of the greatest advances in CNC machine tool technology have been in the area of multi-function, allowing the end user to perform multiple operations in one machine tool.
These machines, on average, have 7-axes to perform multi-process part machining. These flexible machines can replace either a stand-alone CNC lathe or machining center. Multifunction lathes now have spindles instead of the common turret discand typically have an average of 30 horsepower thereby performing high-powered milling cuts, turning, as well as intricate surface profiling.
Some machining centers now even have the ability to perform turning operations to provide the same quality machined results as seen from a CNC lathe. Multifunction is a current buzzword to be sure, and for good reason. It can give you the extra edge toward saving valuable workspace and producing high quality components. Rick Kimmins For a couple of thought-starters, consider these two major advances in CNC technology: 1. CNC Controls Streamline Processes With the introduction of the first open architecture CNC control inOkuma has made significant advances into linking the machine tool control to everyday office duties, along with tracking and selection of parts just to name a few.
These two items alone may give you the edge over your competition.
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Nice work. Nowadays, many shop owners are making the switch to CNC technology and automation for their production processes Well its benefits are too impressive! Very productive machines! Kakal, Thank you for reading the Okuma blog and for reaching out to us for assistance.
Louis Trenton Avenue St. LouisMO www. I will forward your request to them, so you should hear from someone shortly, but please feel free to reach out to them as well. I have a problem with the tool setting with my Okuma mill ES wonder could get some help from you guys. Pleasse give me a phone number where I get some help over the phone. Leave a Comment. Let us know your thoughts! Feel free to leave a comment below.Facebook Group. Share your CNC information? Macro programs Suggestions or comments?
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