What is CNC?
CNC (Computer Numerical Control) is the process of controlling industrial machines with computers. Of the many types of CNC machines, lathe and mills are among the most common.
Machinists used knobs, hand cranks and dials to position cutting tools, hobbyists and carpenters still do. In a commercial setting this process has been automated by CNC controllers. CNC controllers can re-run the same code (N-code, GCODE, ISO, etc.) to produce exact parts. The code can be easily modified to run on multiple machines.
In the case of vertical CNC milling machines, the motors (often servo motors) control ball screws. Ball screws turn rotational motion into linear motion. The ball screw and or motor is equipped with sensors that inform the machine where the part bed or spindle is located. The process is controlled by a CNC controller.
Whose it useful for:
CNC is useful for most industries, whether to directly create end products or aid in the process. Medical Industry, Aviation Industry and Automobile Industry as primary examples.
Injection molds are created with CNC manufacturing techniques. This process involves a piece of metal in a block form called a billet. A machining center or CNC mill cuts away material until we are left with only the part chamber, fill/exit holes. As the molded parts take the negative form of the mold the mold needs to be precisely machined, usually with a fine ball nose cutter. This process along with the associated engineering can be expensive.
Products like bicycle lights and flashlights can be made from extruded aluminum. Aluminum extrusion can be shaped to form most of the features of the product. CNC milling machines create mounting holes, openings or tapped screw holes and otherwise finish the part.
CNC machines can also produce end products from raw materials. This is often a cost efficient way to produce goods as there are lower upfront costs. Low volume runs or prototypes are often first machined before moving to other means of production.
The device you are reading this on has come in contact with some form of CNC. It may have been an electronic component placing machine or a CNC milling machine that produced the hardware parts.
At Anoesis we produce CNC turned and CNC milled parts. Reach out to us to learn more about how our CNC experience can help your business.