To a large extent manufacturing has greatly benefited from the use of machines in its processes, which has arguably had a detrimental effect on how manufacturing occurs – it has saved time, it has increased productivity, reduced rejections per batch and allowed operations managers to calculate what the productivity of a given specification will be. For the history of CNC machining too, the changes in technological advances have been paramount for providing greater degrees of accuracy and harmony between components. How try would this be for precision engineering? Moreover, the effectiveness of CNC machining has taken away man-made manufacturing mistakes; the role of tiredness, the abilities of the human eye, the calculations of the human mind, the individual technique of a particular engineer, all aspects come into play. What technology has done (as ever) has removed these variables for numerical prowess.
Additionally the capabilities of modern day machines – self-reliant, never tiring – means that machines can go for as long as the materials desired to make a product are in abundance. Furthermore, they (CNC machines) have to a degree made the one time engineer more of a supervisor of the machine rather than the creator of the piece that is being made. Despite that being the case, it is well documented that CNC machining allows for a greater number of components being produced at greater speed. Likewise, the growth of software packages has meant that CNC machining can easily produce parts that would require multiple steps to manufacture by hand. This has dramatically decreased lead times and costs.
Finally, the changing dynamics of engineering practises has arguable led to safer working environments as employees are able to monitor manufacturing progress from a computer system whilst machines conduct the work. In this sense, the employee rarely has to interact directly with the CNC machine itself. One could argue that these changing relationships are enabling businesses to become more creative in what they seek to design as the limitations of what is possible are broken. Further as CNC machining can work consistently (as previously mentioned) project managers/design engineers can estimate how long it will take to bring a design to the point of prototype and in turn, wholesale manufacture requirements. These benefits are essential tools in today’s design needs and more directly, save money as out dated techniques take longer and are open to design flaws/manufacturing rejections. Overall the effectiveness/requirement of CNC Machining is becoming ever more ingrained in manufacturing. MAIJIN