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What Are CNC Machines?

The Modern Marvel of CNC Machining

CNC machines are marvels of technology that make our lives in the modern world possible. These electromechanical devices produce things that are themselves used in the production of things used by almost all of us. CNC stands for computer numerical control, with the “computer” the key to how they function. This is because the actual machining process is controlled by a computer.

Understanding CNC Machines

Machining is the technique used to turn a piece of material, whether it be metal, wood or plastic, into a finished product. The products can be as simple as hand tools or as complex and heavy equipment machining devices. Energy machining involves the making of products used in the oil and chemical industries. CNC machining is accomplished with three basic types of tools:

⇒ Conventional devices: These consist of drills, lathes and milling machines
⇒ Electrical and chemical devices: These specialized tools include electron beams, photochemical machines and ultrasound equipment
⇒ Other technologies: Some of these newer devices employ such technologies as laser beams and water jets

Developed in the 1940s, the first CNC machines could be described as primitive by today’s standards. The perforated tape medium that provided the machining instructions would later be replaced by analog and digital programming.

How Computerized Machining is Accomplished

Through its interpretation of the instructions, the CNC machine automatically cuts the desired component from the original piece of material. The instructions given the computer include the feed rate and the cutting speed. Some of the more basic machines operate in only two directions, but advanced devices can move laterally, longitudinally and even in a rotational manner, making it possible to turn over parts over and remove material on the opposite side of the piece.

CNC equipment is today available to satisfy specific industrial needs, including heavy equipment machining. Energy machining is often used in the cutting of metal products that may be exceptionally durable and not compatible with standard CNC equipment. Conventional machines are today used more in the development of prototype items and less in regular manufacturing.

Contact us to learn how you or your company can benefit from our CNC machining services on your next product manufacturing needs.

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