Computer numerical control, otherwise known as CNC, is the new manufacturing standard. Instead of having trained and skilled staff crafting materials into products and components, CNC allows goods producers to combine computers with machinery to get the same result. There are many benefits to using CNC, some of which we will look at here.
Speed: CNC is significantly faster than doi
ng the same job by hand. Most of the production time is taken up upon installing the equipment and setting up the work that is needed on a project-by-project basis. Once this has been done, there isn’t a human on the planet that can work as fast as a CNC machine.
Accuracy: CNC machines combine ultimate speed with uncompromised accuracy. This produces repeatable results and uncompromised quality, every single time. Again, this is something staff, no matter how skilled, can replicate.
Expense: CNC technology doesn’t come cheap. In contrast to employing staff, most of the costs are upfront, with minimal maintenance during the first 15 years of operation. Compared to keeping a full time staff, these costs are very agreeable for most, if not all manufacturers. Staffing is traditionally expensive. There are so many things to consider. Things like pensions, holidays, sickness, staff turnover, staff working hours and conditions… and much more. In simple terms, this is a headache for most employers.
Arguably the down sides are intially larger in scale. Increased automation, typically results in the displacement of skilled/unskilled labor. Obviously, this isn’t good for the economy in the short term as people look for other jobs or never work again as a result. Over the long term, this issue tends to sort itself out as new generations enter the work force with skills suitable for an environment that uses CNC machinery.
Going forward, most if not all industry will use CNC machinery extensively. Trends show significant increase in utilization in the motor and air industry. After all, CNC allows these manufacturers to sell superior products at a reduced production cost. This can either increase margins or make products cheaper for consumers, and everything in between.
The next step for CNC technology, which is traditionally only found in large-scale manufacturing, is for more products to be made available to hobbiests. This is already happening to some extent, with 3D printing leading the way. A relatively old technology, now anyone can buy an affordable 3D printer. What’s more, they’re easy to install and use, making them excellent for people who’d like to try their creative hand at such things.