Batch production is a method whereby the components of an item are produced in separate stages on separate machines to create different batches of products. Using CNC machines for batch production can streamline the workflow because of the reliability, accuracy, and speed of CNC-based manufacturing.
- CNC machining offers immediate cost savings because of the accuracy and low waste of raw materials.
- Parts are produced faster on a CNC machine because the same machine can work all the way through creating a part, instead of moving the piece from station to station.
- CNC machining is safer than manual operation because the operator is out of the way of the machine’s moving parts.
- Though programmed by a CNC specialist, the machine produces an item on a cycle that can be repeated faster and more frequently than by manual machining, meaning more items are produced without the factors of human error.
- Once the machine is programmed, a well-maintained CNC will cut exactly as specified for a fast and consistent run of quality work. Once a good result has been attained, the machine will make that part the same way every time.
CNC machining is admittedly costly at first glance. The machines are expensive, use a lot of electricity when they are in a production run, and require specialized maintenance and programmers to operate them. But the productivity gains more than offset the cost of the machines and attendant expenses. The primary reasons for increased productivity have a lot to do with the nature of the machines themselves.
- A CNC machine can automatically change tools through the production run, and if suitable for the material, it will spray a stream of coolant to flush away excess material and keep the work zone cool.
- The machines can mount more powerful motors that enable them to make larger cuts than with a manual mill.
- CNC machines are capable of working on multiple axes simultaneously, such as on curved or sloped objects, and even work around corners.
CNC Machining at Its Best
The first CNC machines originated at the dawn of the jet age, when the Army’s need for precisely machined jet parts was urgent. Originally, manufacturers took one look at the price tag and were treated for sticker shock. The machines and their uses only began to be developed when, out of desperation, the army loaned 120 of the machines to various manufacturers so that they could familiarize themselves with the use and potential of such machines. From there, the development of programming languages and integration with developing computer technologies have given us the modern, much more affordable, and less than apartment-sized CNC machine we know today. Whether you are choosing a lathe, a mill, or a router, or even all three for your production, your initial layout will be more than repaid by your savings and the value that these machines will create for your company.