Five Tips to Improve the Accuracy and Speed of CNC Machining
A CNC machine in production generates money. A CNC machine that is not being used costs money. This is the case in a CNC machine shop, but also if you have one of those machines installed in your garage. On top of that, the full production capacity of the CNC machine is often not used in the machining sector. However, downtime of the CNC services should be avoided as much as possible, as it costs you money while it does not generate any money. The tips mentioned below will help prevent downtime of your CNC machines.
Zero point clamping system
A zero point clamping system on the machine table allows the operator to quickly change fixtures. In addition, new fixtures can be prepared while the CNC machine is machining. With a zero point clamping system on the machine table, you are also prepared for automated fixture changes. A zero point clamping system is used to secure the workpiece, so the correct operations can be performed precisely and accurately by the CNC machine, by the way.
Single-batch or multi-batch automation
What is single-batch automation? Automating one product series. No continuous production, but simply loading one unique product in one program onto the CNC machine by means of product loading. A higher level is multi-batch automation, which is automating multiple product series in one continuous process. You combine the loading of products with the exchange of a pallet with an automatic machine clamp or a stretched product. This makes 24/7 production of multiple product sizes and product series possible.
The key advantages and disadvantages of the technology are summarised below:
CNC machining offers excellent accuracy and repeatability, and can produce parts with very tight tolerances, making it ideal for high-end applications
CNC materials have excellent and fully-isotropic physical properties and are suitable for most engineering applications.
CNC is the most cost-effective manufacturing process for the producing low-to-medium numbers of metal parts (from one-off prototypes, up to 1000 units)
Due to the subtractive nature of CNC machining, certain geometries are either very costly or impossible to manufacture.
Enough CNC tools
On top of that, you have to make sure that you have enough tools in your CNC machine, which is a simple calculation. On average, a CNC machine has 60 tools, 40 of which are standard. If you unmanned more than 5 different product series, with 5 unique tools per series, you will already be in trouble. A large tool warehouse is not a superfluous luxury. Of course you can take this into account in the preparation by using the same tools in the CNC programs as much as possible.
Automating single pieces
Which products do you make the highest margins on? These are often single pieces and small series. By carrying out all the previous tips, you will have an automation that is fully equipped for this. Automation allows you to produce 24/7 and deliver faster due to a shorter product lead time. No capacity is a thing of the past because of this.
One gripper for all product sizes
Spanning multiple product sizes is great but if the gripper cannot pick up all dimensions, the added value is still small. One option is to use multiple grippers for this, but switching takes time, the format range is often still limited and it comes at the expense of the storage capacity. A better solution is a servo-controlled gripper that adjusts itself fully automatically to all possible product sizes. Set-up time is 0 and the flexibility is very high.