Many businesses in the manufacturing industry utilize computer numerical control (CNC) equipment. Using a computer, CNC machines enable manufacturers to keep many manufacturing processes automated that workers would otherwise perform manually. Subsequently, these CNC tools will help improve productivity, eliminate waste, and reduce the risk of human error across operations.
Depending on the application, there are several types of CNC machines available.
CNC Laser-Cutting Equipment
These CNC tools are used to cut through tougher materials through the use of a laser. Laser-cutting CNC machines aren’t as strong as plasma-cutting machines, but they are highly accurate, and they use one of three different types of lasers, including yytrium-aluminum-garnet (Nd:YAG), neodymium (Nd), or CO2.
Like laser-cutting CNC tools, plasma-cutting machines are ideal for cutting tougher materials, only using a high-powered plasma torch in lieu of a laser. Plasma-cutting machines can cut through materials such as metal using plasma that reaches temperatures as high as 50,000 degrees Fahrenheit (27,760 °C).
CNC Milling Equipment
CNC milling machines utilize tools that are built-in for cutting and drilling. They are among the most commonly used CNC tools. Operators simply place materials in the milling machine and the internal computer helps guide the tools for cutting or drilling the material. You can find many CNC milling machines in configurations consisting of three to six axes.
Electric Discharge CNC Tools
CNC electric discharge machines, or spark CNC machines, are CNC tools that use electrical sparks to shape various materials. The process is erosive, deforming materials that go into the machine. Operators will place materials between a top and bottom electrode, and the system’s computer will determine how much electrical charge is needed to form the desired shape.
Lathe CNC Machines
CNC lathe machines can rotate materials using fewer axes than their milling counterparts. As a result, these machines are typically smaller and more easily moved. Lathe machines include a lathe in the center used to move and manipulate materials based on a designated position.
Choosing the Right CNC Tool for Your Application
The type of CNC machine you use in your facility will depend on the application. Some tougher materials such as metal may require high-powered cutting through the use of laser- or plasma-cutting machines, while other applications may require more versatility and flexibility of design, in which case lathe, milling, and electric discharge CNC machines may be more ideal for installation. Regardless of the application, there’s a CNC tool that is designed to meet your needs.
Today’s CNC tool technology also accommodates nearly any product specification while providing consistent efficacy.