Lathes, Milling Machines and the Advent of CNC
Manufacturing has been an important aspect of production for a long period of time. Originally, all machinery had to be manually operated and supervised. With the introduction of CNC (Computer Numerical Control) technology, most manufacturing processes require much less labor and yield equal or greater results.
What is a Lathe?
A lathe refers to a machine that rotates a material along its axis and uses other tools such as blades to change its shape or remove parts of it. Lathes are used to shape not only wood, but also glass and metals. Despite the specific name, metal lathes are often used to deal with plastics and other materials aside from metals.
What is a Milling Machine?
Milling machines come in many different kinds capable of a wide range of operations. Their uses include drilling and planing as well as more complex operations such as contouring. Depending on the use, some of these are relatively small, requiring only a few square feet of space, while others are the size of an entire small room.
What does CNC (Computer Numerical Control) Accomplish?
Computer numerical control refers to the use of computing technology integrated with other devices to program and automate some of their functions. By integrating a machine with a simple programming language, commands can be entered into the computer to be handled automatically by the machine.
Benefits of CNC in Manufacturing
Before the advent of CNC technology, most aspects of the manufacturing process had to be done manually. The part to be cut or modified had to be placed in the correct position. The specific part or accessory had to be installed in the machine before using it. The speed and other factors had to be checked and updated for each part. Now the user can simplify enter the correct information into the computer and let the machine take care of most of the task.
CNC Technology in Lathes and Milling Machines
For manufacturing machinery such as lathes and milling machines, computing technology saves time and decreases the number of human errors. It is also possible for numerical calculations to specify machine movements and processes much more precisely than what could be done or set up manually. This allows for much greater precision and more complex operations to be performed by similar machines.
Computing technology integrated into countless machines has achieved amazing success. The inclusion of CNC in lathes and milling machines has greatly improved the speed and precision of many manufacturing processes. These are now easy to handle with some supervision, as opposed to intensive manual labour.
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