CNC: The Future of Crafting or Just another Craze?
CAD (computer-aided design) software has been transforming industry design for the past three decades. What used to be manufactured at a high cost in bigger factories can now be achieved by sending CAD models to CNC machines to create prototypes.
Technical drawing and design are simplified across sectors with the increased use of programs, like easel CNC software. Plus, the ability to customize objects or produce spare parts according to your preference is offered more frequently.
Perhaps this is one of the reasons why the interest in additive, CAD, and design manufacturing has grown among younger individuals worldwide.
It is Older Than You Can Imagine
Which technology is more than 40 years old in practice, 80 years old in theory, and looks brand new? Whether you believe it or not, this is none other than CNC.
While the craze for CNC machines started like three decades ago when some companies made media and investors salivate, those in the production industry are aware that the process goes back even further.
CNC and Changes in Life and Career
It might be just a coincidence that machinists like Bill Watson have been lifelong fans of heavy metal band Metallica. However, it is definitely not a coincidence that Polk State College received around $100,000 grant from the All Within My Hands Foundation in order to take part in the Metallica Scholars Initiatives.
In conjunction with the American Association of Community Colleges, these initiatives offer support to the CNC Machining Program, including scholarships for underemployed and unemployed people. This is to help them finish their courses, plus funds to take exams for six NIMS (National Institute for Metalworking Skills) certifications, which can qualify them for high-wage and in-demand jobs.
Managing the Increasing Complexity
The increased complexity level basically characterizes CNC manufacturing’s future. Changes in demand, lead time requirements, cost pressures, evolving technology, and product variants highlight the importance of achieving production resilience, which is the combination of efficiency and flexibility.
The bottom line is that the future needs the use of new competencies and shouldn’t just be faced by purchasing advanced turning, milling, and other CNC machines. The manufacturing nature is also shifting from managing production operations to developing daily processes/operations and changing workpieces.
The Future of CNC Manufacturing Explained
In order to go deeper, it is best to review the trends and characteristics of future CNC manufacturing. The uncertainty around the future can possibly be managed by the right mindset, tools, and planning.
Intelligent automation combines physical movement efficiencies with production planning and process integration, making high-mix-low-volume production resilient and profitable.
Reviewing the everyday life of the manufacturing CNC operators and managers will as well make the work safer and more meaningful, completing the 3P sustainability framework for the following:
Obviously, the use of CNC machines is still a new idea for some industries. Compiling it, new ideas and variations will keep on coming. But the game’s rules remain the same – keep things simple and invest in the right CNC machine based on your projects and other factors.