CNC machining is the cutting or removing of material by a computer-aided machine tool. A CNC machining center works with metal, wood, plastic or other manufacturing materials. CNC machining is replacing older, pre-computer machining technology in machine shops around the country.
The decision to upgrade to CNC machining can be hard for a shop owner, but the benefits make the initial costs and the learning curve for new technology well worth it. Customers demand closer tolerances, faster deliveries and lower prices, all of which upgrading to a CNC shop makes possible.
1. Find a CNC machine supplier specializing in turn-key packages if you're new to CNC machining and need to train a CNC machine operator.
2. Consider multi-purpose machining centers if your shop produces more than one product.
3. Look into buying used CNC machines if you want to save money on start-up costs.
Buy a CNC machine from a supplier that helps with start-up operationsSome CNC machine companies offer set-up services from delivery to technical approval of your CNC machine. Many companies also provide training and continuing service, including regular upgrades.
Acquire a CNC machining center to perform multiple tasksIf you run a shop that makes more than one product, you may want to get a machining center which combines several CNC machine tools. You can do CNC milling, cutting and grinding on one multi-axis machine.
Purchase used CNC machines to save moneyUsed CNC machines are often as good as new, especially if someone traded them in or a company repossessed them before much wear occurred. With used machines, the price is often right. Some distributors specialize in finding the best trade-ins and repossessed CNC machining centers and offering them to their customers.
- Go to trade shows where CNC machine suppliers will be showing their latest products. Collect pamphlets, business cards and other information about companies you're interested in.
- Companies that make CNC machines should have recent ISO quality control certification. See if they have other certifications as well.
- Your CNC machining center should come with a warranty, whether you purchase it used or new.