Benefits of CNC Prototyping
CNC (computer numerical control) prototyping is a fairly new process in the field of machining that allows for better efficiency through higher levels of automation, and by making the machine and its computer controls carry out all the work. While CNC prototyping machines are complex and expensive, they almost immediately pay for themselves by lessening the workload and precluding errors.
The first core advantage of CNC prototyping is that it improves automation, removing the need of an operator for all but a few parts of the work. CNC prototyping machines could be left unwatched for hours or, if necessary, even days, allowing operators to spend time on other tasks. This also lets a company hire fewer operators, thus saving on overhead. Without an operator, safety is increased, because in case there is a jam or other potentially dangerous machining error, no one will be holding the tool and the damage will be confined to the tool itself. CNC prototyping machines can also work a lot faster than human machinists, as they are much stronger and have no need to take breaks. They can also be operated late at night, when most of the workers would have gone home, since machines do not need to be bothered about being sleepy or getting paid for overtime.
The second most significant benefit to CNC prototyping is that it produces the same exact result each and every time. Even the best human operator will have trivial variations among finished outcomes, but a CNC machine will bring exactly the same result all the time. This is highly important in the modern time of homogeneous and exchangeable parts, where a single defective cut can render the machine entirely unusable. All that is needed is for one program to be developed as well as installed into the machine. Then the machine can toil away at however many work pieces are needed, producing an exact replica down to thousandths of an inch each and every time.
The third important advantage to CNC prototyping is the flexibility of the machine. Although humans are obviously more trainable and flexible than machines, a CNC machine can be fully reprogrammed in a matter of hours to generate a totally different product. Therefore, it is possible to revert back to old programs or install new programs if a new work piece is needed. This gives CNC prototyping machines a large advantage over other machines, as they are quick to shift to producing an entirely different output without needing new part installations or an overhaul of key components. This also guarantees that CNC prototyping machines can meet growing customer demands, considering they can easily shift from producing parts in surplus to parts that are lacking if necessary.