Computer numerically controlled (CNC) machining is used for various projects and provides numerous benefits to businesses in different industries. From school children to corporate executives, everyone has encountered devices created using CNC machining. As a matter of fact, the creation of most devices these days involves this kind of machining.
Basically, CNC machining uses computer-numerical control to run machine parts, such as mills, shapers, grinders, routers, and lathes. Compared to some machining forms, CNC machining doesn’t require a human operator.
Since it runs under the control of computers, CNC machining can produce complex and precise parts in a short time. This enables businesses to produce parts faster, maximizing production and reducing time to market.
In a history of CNC machines, it has been nearly 70 years since companies used them. At present, there are many CNC machines in the market designed to meet the growing demands of various companies. If you’re using or planning to invest in CNC machines in the future, here are the CNC machining trends to watch out for in 2022:
1. CNC Robots
CNC robots are one of the trends you should watch for in the CNC machining industry. Due to the ability to interact with people, CNC robotics is a promising trend as it may provide automation for dangerous or difficult tasks on the machine shop floor.
The introduction of artificial intelligence (AI) in different types of precision CNC machining has increased their use with feedback systems and vision sensors. It has also enabled predictive maintenance and adjustments during processing when the sensors on milling machines may change proximity or speed to the cutting surface based on the provided feedback. It has led to more opportunities for longer machine life, better quality, speed of production, etc.
2. Greater Accessibility Of Computer-Aided Design And Manufacturing (CAD/CAM) Software
In today’s modern world, CAD/CAM technology is more accessible than ever, and companies can avail of it at lower prices. Developers of such tools are making user-friendliness a priority. There’s also a growing community of designers and programmers working to make the technology as accessible as possible.
The availability of cloud computing resources and the increasing power of computers also means that designers don’t require high-powered computers to design various parts for CNC machining. Combined with some productivity-boosting strategies, those tools can make every CNC machine more efficient and maximize returns for designers.
The increased accessibility of CAD/CAM can unlock new benefits for businesses and individual designers who may have needed the assistance of bigger manufacturers in the past. Such changes are also part of a broader trend in the world of computer-aided engineering. Over time, computational fluid dynamics (CFD), finite element analysis (FEA), and simulation software will also be more accessible to companies and designers.
3. New Industrial Internet Of Things (IIoT) Devices
New IIoT devices make it easier for companies to network CNC machines and various manufacturing equipment. Such devices that use the internet to receive and send data can allow new features for CNC machines like remote operations monitoring.
The new devices also use IIoT sensors to track the operational parameters of CNC machines. Over time, it’s possible to use gathered data to make predictive models that forecast when devices fail or require maintenance. This approach may help companies improve their maintenance schedule. In addition, it may come in handy in extending the lifespan of CNC machines and allow companies to enjoy savings on maintenance.
4. Multiple Axis Machining
The concept of moving drills plus moving beds created several innovative new approaches to CNC machining when automation was introduced as 3-axis machining. This became a reality with today’s advanced programming machines and technology.
In fact, 4- and 5-axis machines were made and have been in the market for years. However, it’s only recently that such machines have become affordable and available for the whole industry.
At present, 6-axis machines are advancing CNC machining capabilities even more. As more clients demand intricate designs and tighter tolerances, the rise of multiple axes CNC machining will continue this 2022.
5. The Increase Of Manufacturing-As-A-Service (MaaS)
The CNC industry has tapped into MaaS over the past several years, but it’ll continue to grow in 2022. It accomplishes manufacturing through the use of networked resources. The cost of operating and maintaining the CNC equipment is spread across users who need the service.
The primary advantage of Manufacturing-as-a-Service platforms is that businesses can be more productive, enjoy savings, and be agile. The impact of the pandemic will spur businesses to look for other supply chain networks with MaaS. These days, most organizations would want to avoid any disruption in the supply chain, and having an extensive supply chain network may future-proof them on whatever comes next.
New challenges for businesses will likely lead to more innovation in CNC machining for the next few years. The above trends reflect the current market needs and help companies stay ahead of the curve. To know which CNC machine is suited for your business, make sure to take note of the current trends to get the best value for investment.