Conventional manufacturing requires blades and hammers to cut products into shapes to the required specifications. Precision machining is a modern form of manufacturing which relies on a computer numerical control (CNC) machine to cut parts to exact specifications. Such objects are commonly used to make everyday small or large objects. Precision machining is also required when items need repair or maintenance as well. Hence, they will be required to be sharpened by a machine tool calibration, will require welding, or will need to be grooved by a machinist. At present, precision manufacturing dominates the growing machine market by 70 per cent. It is predominantly used in the automotive, medicine, aerospace and various other industries. However, 30 per cent of companies still use conventional machine manufacturing, holding back their manufacturing talent.
If you belong to the 30 per cent that is yet to transition to precision manufacturing, here is everything you need to know to get started.
What Are CNCs?
CNC is the best equipment for precision manufacturing. It removes excess material by cutting, drilling and turning a sheet or block of material to form desired shapes, subtracting material in a multidimensional way. Ultimately, the product should be made in the exact dimensions and specifications required and have an accurate amount of tolerance. It should have made large parts of a product much more precise. The word ‘precise’ is not merely a synonym for accuracy. Instead, it refers to a measurement system’s capability to repeatedly return the same measure. This means a CNC’s primary role is not simply to ensure that a machine is built in accurate measurements but that it can repeatedly produce multiple similar parts of a product with the exact same measurements.
The most prominent advantage managers enjoy when incorporating CNCs is the relief of guaranteeing the accurate tolerance value consistently. Tolerance refers to the amount of flexibility that the factory can afford to deviate in the dimension of a part and is expressed in “±” ( “plus or minus”). The tolerance value of CNC indicates that it can deviate to a higher or lesser value from the standard value. Hence, if the standard value is ±0.05 mm, the machining tool can cause a deviation higher or less than 0.05mm, thereby creating a diameter of 9.95 mm or 10.05 mm if a 10mm diameter hole is required to be in the metal. Choosing a CNC with the appropriate tolerance value for a company is integral as it affects the end product’s functionality.
Previously, tolerance had to be measured manually, and due to the lack of proper measurement devices, engineers struggled to capture the correct tolerance required accurately. Due to the slightest errors in measures, the product becomes useless, thereby increasing the waste generated. Hence, with CNCs, there is excellent reliability when it comes to tolerance. While CNCs have been used for some time now, a seamless experience can be gained by incorporating software that helps managers to control and monitor the precision process. In this way, not only can managers automate the process of building precision parts, but they can also monitor the health of the CNC to ensure breakdowns that lead to factory downtime do not occur. Some organisations use a CNC alongside a Computer Aided Design (CAD) or Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM) program, whose detailed blueprints ensure finer and more quality end products are made.
Benefits of Precision Manufacturing
There is a range of benefits precision manufacturing offers. Here are a few of the core benefits:
Lower Cost and Tighter Tolerance
A manufacturer or engineer aims to find a tighter tolerance to ensure they can be used for the specified purpose. While it is not impossible to get tighter tolerance through conventional manufacturing, managers will have to incur a lot of money to get it done. Hence, it is more financially feasible to guarantee tighter tolerance using precision manufacturing. Even when an organisation is willing to invest heavily in it, it is hard to repeatedly ensure the item’s specifics are met without adopting precision manufacturing. Thus, precision manufacturing lowers overall finances in an organisation as it eliminates errors and, therefore, any waste.
Faster Turnaround And Production
After finalising the blueprint through a CAD or CAM, precision manufacturing can get straight to work and finish a product in days. In contrast, a conventional manufacturer will take weeks or months to complete it. This is because manual tasks, including designing, would previously have required humans to spend time drawing and measuring the raw material. With precision manufacturing, everything is automated. Once a product’s specifics are set, managers can run operations 24/7 without having to halt the production process.
Compatible With a Wide Range of Materials
The effort put into making items varies on the type of product. While tightening tolerance on metal may be easier in conventional manufacturing, the approach used for products in titanium, aluminium, and others could be different. Therefore, factories will not be able to meet their targets reliably if different metals or materials are used. Precision manufacturing, on the other hand, is very compatible. From brass to bronze, copper, plastics, stainless steel, carbon steel, titanium, tool steel, exotic alloys and more, factory managers can produce multiple items according to the relevant specifics without slowing production.
Easier Testing and Prototyping
An important step in manufacturing items is testing them. No matter how great the design is, not everything is perfect on the first go, no matter how much an engineer tries. The design may not be the most feasible in terms of resources or energy, requiring tweaks. However, testing prototypes with a conventional manufacturing method can be expensive. It is also more time-consuming, thereby dragging the entire process. With precision manufacturing, managers receive rapid prototyping capabilities. Engineers can thus try their design on different materials and finalise the most suitable.
How Does Cerexio Come Into the Picture?
Cerexio is not a manufacturer that builds CNCs but offers a range of compatible technological solutions driven by industry 4.0 to use your CNC optimally. A modern CNC best functions with a software solution with CAD and CAM modules, letting engineers make a digital representation of innovative designs before starting the production process. Cerexio incorporates advanced technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), digital twins, predictive and prescriptive analytics, Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and much more. All this helps managers monitor their assets’ health, which can be used to assess the condition of their CNC. Upon detecting any risks, Cerexio’s software will instantly inform the manager. It will also go a step ahead to warn you of any dangers the software can predict from your operations. Managers can utilise this information to prevent such risks and random breakdowns. The advanced analytical tools produce detailed valuable insights, helping managers make smarter decisions. In essence, when finding which software solution best goes with a CNC, Cerexio, one of the few technology vendors that specifically caters to the manufacturing industry, is your answer.
Contact Cerexio to learn how precision manufacturing can be taken to the next level when integrated into one of its software solutions.
Make the Transition to Precision Manufacturing
There is a reason why the majority of industries are moving away from conventional manufacturing methods. It incurs a lot of money, energy, effort, resources and time and does not offer better ROI to companies. Since precision manufacturing and industry 4.0 emerged, manufacturers have received and completed more things in half the time and cost spent before. Thus, what better inspiration is needed to transition to precision manufacturing?