Have you ever wondered what a CNC-operated machine is and in which industries you are most likely to encounter these helpful tools? Read on as we take a closer look into the definition, advantages and history of CNC machines and some of the key areas of industry in which you may find them.
CNC stands for computer numerical control; in addition, you may sometimes see or hear it referred to as simply NC (numerical control). It generally refers to a type of computer that can be used to operate a manual machine using pre-programmed settings. These instructions are created via CAD (computer-aided design) software. Manual machinery that can be operated by CNC machines includes lathes, routers, borers, reamers, drills, grinders, and even mills.
This means that even in industries in which the technology remains mechanical, the settings can now be operated by a computer. As a result, you will find CNC machines in use in almost every corner of industry. CNC machines are one of the many ways in which human labour is being replaced by faster, cheaper and more accurate processes. Although CNC machines were first developed back in the 1940s, they have advanced immeasurably in the time since that decade.
CNC machines in woodwork
There are many industries that make use of these clever machines; however, two of the key areas are woodwork and metalwork. CNC machines are often used in largescale woodwork, such as mass production furniture, as they can monitor and operate drilling and routing.
CNC machines in metalwork
Metal manufacturing also sees much use of CNC technology. This includes sheet metal production, where CNC punching machines from specialists such as Punching Machines are frequently used. A punching machine operated by CNC will be able to perform considerably more efficient and accurate punching than if a human were operating the machine. Industries where metal needs to be removed and fabricated also make great use of CNC technology.
The use of computer numerical control has revolutionised the efficiency of mechanical operations. It means faster and more accurate production and also saves significantly on the cost of human labour. Used extensively in the metalwork and woodwork industries, these computers are regularly upgraded and therefore supersede themselves as the technology in this area continues to develop.