Manufacturing is an intimidating topic for those who are uninitiated. New technology and processes are popping up in the industry regularly so you can easily get lost in the weeds and be dispelled by the vast amount of available information. Many believe CNC production serviceis a piece of cake and instantly dive into unknown territory without the proper education. Others fear it is too large of an undertaking and steer clear altogether. CNC machining is incredibly accessible, but it is helpful to understand some of the common myths.
Myth #1: CNC Machines Can Last for Long Periods of Time
Like any type of mechanical equipment, CNC machines require maintenance and can break down. They operate under a tremendous amount of stress and are subject to wear and tear. Executing complicated designs and operations at high speeds inevitably takes its toll. However, skilled operators can run the machine and troubleshoot during a failure. Like production equipment, having a preventive maintenance schedule is a must.
Myth #2: CNC Machines Can Make Anything
There is no shortage of online videos showcasing the latest features of CNC production service equipment. Live-tooling lathes and multi-axis mills deliver some of the most beautiful components you will ever see. However, even the most advanced CNC equipment has its limitations so understanding the machine’s capabilities is crucial during the design stage. Some features just cannot be produced with a CNC machine due to the range of motion, specific machine restriction or cutting envelope.
Myth #3: CNC Machining is Expensive
As the technology expands, CNC machining is becoming more affordable. Using CAD software, modern CNC production service companies are making it easier to take a conceptual design and bringing it to production. Integrated CNC features are allowing for faster setup and changeovers, and modern cutting tools mixed with high-speed operations are reducing production cycle times, all of which drives down your unit cost.
Myth #4: Fully Automated
There have been incredible advancements regarding machine automation, there is always a need for skilled programmers and operators. Machines fail and humans need to get the system running. It is unwise to invest a significant amount of time and money into the latest technology without a team of CNC professionals supervising the operation. Most CNC production service centers are nowhere near full automation, instead relying on talented staff to produce their parts.
Myth#5: Set and Forget
A common misunderstanding exists that once a component is run on a CNC machine, it will continue to seamlessly churn out high-quality components. While there have been significant advancements in quality and automation, issues always arise. Tools break, inserts wear, parts shift, and sooner or later operators need to intervene to fix issues or maintain the quality of a part.