Types of CNC Machines and Machine Tools
The full form of CNC is Computer Numerical Control. It is a computer-controlled machining system used widely in the manufacturing industry.
With this system, machines can repeatedly carry out complex functions which would otherwise have to be performed manually. Since the actions are performed by robotics, it leaves very little space for human errors.
Thus, computer-programmed machines have become the new norm in manufacturing.
This article will talk about four of the most commonly used CNC machines and their functions. So buckle up; it’s about to get really technical with CNC machining in Cheshire and Warrington!
CNC Milling Machine
CNC Milling Machines are typically used to produce square or rectangular pieces. The first step here is to fix the workpiece material onto the workspace. Then, attach the milling tools to the milling spindle. Now the machine is ready to start the process. Go ahead and activate the design programme.
The tools of the machine circulate the workpiece material, shaping it according to what’s needed in the design.
It can also create peripheral milled parts (deep pits such as slots and threads).
CNC Laser Machine
A CNC laser machine uses a high powered laser beam to make sharp and precise cuts to the material. The workpiece material used is typically in sheet format. Once it is placed on the workspace, we can now start the process.
The laser beam moves back and forth over the material and heats its surface. The heat from the laser melts the fabric and cuts through the material.
This way, CNC laser machines allow for even the most complicated designs to be engraved. It often makes cuts and edges that do not require additional finishing processes.
CNC Electrical Discharge Machines (EDM)
A CNC Electric Discharge Machine (EDM) is typically used on tough metals which are difficult to cut or shape. It uses highly controlled electrical sparks to shape materials according to the design. This process is also called spark eroding, spark machining or wire burning.
We start by placing the workpiece under the electrode wire.
The machine emits an electrical discharge from the wire, producing intense heat up to 11,648 degrees Celsius. A gap is maintained between the discharge tool and the workpiece, which is flushed with liquid.
This phenomenon melts the surface of the workpiece to shape it in the desired form.
The machine is mainly used for creating precise micro holes, slots, tapered or angled features.
CNC Plasma-Cutting Machine
A CNC plasma-cutting machine operates using a high-powered plasma torch controlled by a computer. It is typically used on materials such as stainless steel, aluminium, brass and copper. For the process to work, the used material must be electrically conductive.
The plasma torch shoots a flame up to 27,760 degrees Celsius. A temperature hot enough to slice through the toughest metal. I wouldn’t touch that if I were you.
Once the machine is activated, it would be wise to stand back and watch from a distance!
The plasma torch melts through the material workpiece, shaping it according to the design.