CNC Prototyping and Its Advantages
CNC (computer numerical control) prototyping is a comparatively new process in the machining world that allows for greater efficiency through higher levels of automation, and by having the machine and its computer controls perform all the work. While CNC prototyping machines are pricey and complex, they rather quickly pay for themselves by minimizing the workload and preventing errors.
The first key advantage of CNC prototyping is that it improves automation, removing the need of an operator for all but a few parts of the work. CNC prototyping machines may be left alone for hours or even days, allowing operators to do other tasks. As well, this allows a company to employ less operators, hence saving on overhead. Without an operator, safety is increased as no one will be holding the tool, and in the event of a potentially hazardous machining error, only the tool will suffer damage. CNC prototyping machines can also work significantly faster than human machinists simply because they are stronger and need no breaks. They can also work late at night, when the majority of the workers have gone home, since machines do not need to be concerned about sleep or being paid for overtime hours.
The second most significant benefit to CNC prototyping is that it produces the same exact result each and every time. Even the best human operator will have slight variations among finished results, while a CNC machine will come up with exactly the same result each time. This is highly important in the modern time of homogeneous and exchangeable parts, where a single defective cut can render the machine entirely unusable. All that is needed is for one program to be developed as well as installed into the machine. Then the machine can toil away at however many work pieces are needed, producing an exact replica down to thousandths of an inch each and every time.
The third substantial advantage to CNC prototyping is the flexibility offered by the machine. Even as humans are way more flexible and trainable compared to machines, a CNC machine can be entirely reprogrammed in a matter of hours to churn out a completely different product. Therefore, it is possible to revert back to old programs or install new programs if a new work piece is needed. This gives CNC prototyping machines a great advantage over other machines, because they can easily shift to producing a totally new product without having to install new parts or performing an overhaul of major components. This also guarantees that CNC prototyping machines can meet growing customer demands, considering they can easily shift from producing parts in surplus to parts that are lacking if necessary.