CNC Prototyping and Its Advantages
CNC (computer numerical control) prototyping is a fairly new process in the field of machining that allows for better efficiency through higher levels of automation, and by making the machine and its computer controls carry out all the work. While CNC prototyping machines are complicated and pricey, they almost instantly pay for themselves by decreasing the workload and controlling errors.
The first main 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 could be left unwatched for hours or, if necessary, even days, allowing operators to spend time on other tasks. This also allows a company to employ fewer operators, therefore saving on overhead expenses. Without an operator, safety is increased, because in case there is a jam or other potentially dangerous machining error, no one will be holding the tool and the damage will be confined to the tool itself. 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 biggest benefit to CNC prototyping is that it produces the exact same outcome 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 will be necessary is one program to be developed and 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. Although humans are obviously more trainable and flexible than machines, a CNC machine can be fully reprogrammed in a matter of hours to generate a totally 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 huge advantage over other machines, being easy to shift to a totally different product output without requiring new parts to be installed or a overhaul of core 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.
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