CNC machines are a sign of modern production. They are used at all stages: from the production of a test batch to series production. Mechanical engineering, the aerospace industry, furniture making, and metalworking are the areas where CNC equipment is used.
What is the difference between CNC and non-CNC machines?
Machine tools have 2 similar features: machining and tooling. They differ in the way they are machined. Let’s take a look at each.
How a CNC machine works
A program is responsible for creating the product on a CNC machine. You load a layout into it, place the workpiece on the work field, and wait for the product to be ready.
How does a non-CNC machine work?
You have to roll up your sleeves and work with your hands. The operator controls the tool and makes the workpiece look the way you want it to look.
Pluses of CNC machines
- High productivity. CNC machines can run 24/7, which expands production capabilities and increases the volume of output.
- Suitable for mass production.
- Experienced operator can operate 4-5 machines at the same time.
- Non-contact machining. Operator does not interact with the material and tool during machining. This increases safety at workplace.
- Accuracy. The program automatically processes the material, and machine error is minimal. All parts will be the same.
- Rare breakdowns. The operator only sets the parameters, all the rest is done by automatics, the risk of breakage in this case is minimal.
- Serial production reduces the cost of the final product.
- Database of layouts is available free of charge on the Internet.
- No skills in processing tool materials are required, the program will do everything on its own.
- Cons of CNC machines
- The cost is higher than for non-CNC machines.
- Needs a designer to create layouts.
- More expensive to repair.
Cons of non-CNC machines
- Cost is lower.
- No need to work with graphics editors.
- The operator gets to work right away. If it is an individual order, he bypasses the stage of creating a layout in the program.
- Minuses of machines without CNC
- Low production speed. A CNC machine will make a part in 2 minutes, while a non-CNC machine will take an hour for a similar task.
- The human factor. The operator processes the workpiece, and his skills determine the quality of products.
- Not suitable for serial production.
- What machine tool to choose: CNC or non-CNC?
- The choice of machine depends on what you are going to produce and to what extent.
A CNC machine is suitable for serial production, where productivity and repeatability of parts are important.
You can create products with a custom design, but it will have to be developed in a graphic editor.
CNC machine will be an excellent choice for those who know how to work in graphics editors, but do not know how to work with a tool.
Non-CNC machine is suitable for a small workshop, where the work is done on an individual order. But the master must have golden hands.