Since their inception, CNC machines have revolutionized the general outlook of the manufacturing industry. These overly sophisticated pieces of equipment ushered a new era of improved precision, accuracy, efficiency, and consistency of fabrication processes, which manually operated machines couldn’t achieve. CNC machining involves the use of programmed software to direct the motions of different fabrication machines. If you wish to learn more about CNC machines, including the types, essential parts, and benefits, keep reading until the end. 

What is CNC Machinery?

Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machining involves using pre-programmed machine motions  to manage and control various machining, fabrication and other manufacturing tools such as lathes, mills, grinders, and routers. In short, CNC machining refers to any fabrication operation carried out by a machine that is operated or controlled by a computer. CNC machinery allows for the automation of vast manufacturing processes that otherwise would have been performed manually.

CNC machines make it possible for manufacturers to make complex cuts with minimal error, less time, and reduced wastage. However, you need to match a CNC machine type with its proper operation and have an in-depth understanding of how all of its parts work for you to get the desired results.

Parts of CNC Machine

Some of the most integral CNC machine parts include:

  • Machine Control Unit

This is considered the lifeblood of CNC equipment since it is responsible for all the controlling action. The unit reads and decodes coded instructions fed to it by the operator at the controller and the program in operation and implements interpolation to create axis motion commands, which it feeds to the amplifier circuits. It then controls the speed and initiates switch on and switch off commands. 

  • Input devices

These are used to feed the part program into the CNC system. They include the HMI (Human Machine Interface) or Control Panel, Punch Tape Reader, Magnetic Tape Reader, Disk Drive, USB ports, Ethernet and WIFI connection to a computer. 

  • Machine Tool

This is the part that does all the work commanded by the controller. The machine tool is the work zone and moving components of the machine. Here, you'll find the slide table that moves the material in position, and all the other axes of motion. 

  • Driving System 

Once the CNC controller sends a command for an action the command is received by the drive system. This area comprises three critical tools: drive motors, amplifier circuits, and ball lead screw, linear or rack & pinion drive. They all work in unison to facilitate the motion required to put the machine working area in position while simultaneously bringing cutters or forming tools into the workzone.

  • Feedback System

Also known as a measuring system, or closed loop feedback, this part features position and speed transducers that continually monitor the tool's speed and position. Through these servo and scale feedback devices it allows the control a verification of the commands for movement sent helping correct any positioning and motion errors. 

6 Types of CNC Machines

Since CNC machines are designed to facilitate the manufacture of a vast array of items, they come in different types.  These include:

  • CNC Milling & Routing Machines

This CNC machine uses computer controls to cut materials that are passed under a rotating multipoint cutter. Its range of functions includes tapping, drilling, milling, and boring. Most CNC mills boast three to five axis configurations.

  • CNC Turning Machine

This computer numerical controlled equipment cuts workpieces as they are being rotated while firmly clamped in a machine's work vise, called a “chuck”. These machines typically come with fewer axis than CNC mills, but deliver cuts with unmatched precision and a design that lends itself to automated processing. 

  • CNC Press Brakes

A CNC Press Brake is a machine that commonly has 3 Axis of controllable motion but can include as many as 14Axis. These axis of motion are used to bend and form metals accurately. CNC Press Brakes are generally designed to produce larger dimension parts from materials such as steel, aluminum, and stainless steels. 

  • CNC Laser Cutting Machine

CNC Laser Cutting Machines are designed to cut through tough and hard materials. Designed to be a quick process solution for shape cutting flat metals they used the combined capability of the CNC Control system along with the power of a LASER generating device to vaporize a toolpath through sheet and tube metals. They are renowned for offering a higher level of cutting accuracy.

  • CNC Plasma Cutter 

This computer-controlled machine is designed to be a quick process solution for shape cutting flat steel primarily for larger welding and forming applications. The CNC Plasma power source, controlled by the CNC Controller, cuts harder materials by creating a plasma arc stream in conductive materials while blowing gas from a nozzle at a very high speed to blow the vaporized materials away. It cuts a workpiece by melting the intended area with sizzling-hot plasma. 

  • CNC Electric Discharge Machine

CNC EDMs (Electric Discharge Machines) create desired shapes from a material through recurring electrical discharges. A workpiece is placed between two electrodes, and the electric sparks produced help to carve the desired products. CNC EDM Machinery are used primarily in the Tool, Mold and Medical trades.

Benefits of CNC Machinery

  1. High efficiency and increased speed of production.
  2. Increased accuracy, precision and repeatability of CNC machining ensure consistency in product quality. 
  3. Reduced material wastage, thus saving on manufacturing costs. 
  4. Since the entire process is automated, the safety of employees is increased.
  5. It can be used to produce items of any size, shape, or volume. 

Check Out Our Inventory of New and Used CNC Machines Today

Are you looking to add a CNC machine to your existing portfolio? Southern Fabrication Machinery Sales is your one-stop-shop. We take pride in our rich inventory of new and used CNC machines that are sure to provide value for your every dollar. Visit our website today, and let us give your fabrication shop a boost with one of our cutting-edge CNC equipment.

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