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Computer Numerical Control, more commonly known as CNC machines, are a fascinating modern-day solution to complex problems. In a nutshell, CNCs are the combination of computer programs (written codes), and the old-fashioned machine fabrication. They have been a boon in modern machinery due to the versatility provided by the programs that the machines are run by. The idea is that the same machine can conduct many different cuts based on the code (program) that it is fed. The machines come with Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM) software programs and tools that can conduct cutting and shaping tasks. Computer Aided Design (CAD) models are then provided by the customer for specifications on how to create the final product they are seeking. When the CAD is fed into the CNC’s CAM, it provides instructions on how the different parts of the machine should move and operate to create the product of desire.
While they may not be the solution to every machining problem, CNCs have become quite popular in the trade for obvious reasons. So much so that the market for it has become increasingly competitive with prices considerably lower compared to when they were first developed. Many manufacturers across the globe have taken on to designing CNC machines. However, just as with any technology and machining solution, you often get what you pay for. A cheaper deal isn’t always the best one when choosing your machining partner. However, knowing the process and associate costs of building a CNC machine can put you in a better place for negotiation. Below are the phases often associated with CNC machining
It happens more often than you think. The last of the orders are produced and ready to deliver and just as things are almost out the door, a manufacturing defect surfaces. There goes the entire allotted time for the project and all of your energy and costs of production with it. Now comes the difficult part – letting the customer know.
Quality control at every step of the process is a vital part of manufacturing. Not just to avoid an embarrassing conversation with the customer, but to ensuring accountability and your business’s integrity. Ensuring you have the right tools and roles in place is integral to maintaining accountable quality. At the end of the day, who do you hold responsible for a job well done, or one that’s been very poorly conducted? The truth to the matter is that quality control is as much an individual responsibility as it is a group effort. It is important to have check points and key figures in place to conduct the checks, but it also important to ensure that controls are happening within different levels of the manufacturing process. A well-oiled system with open lines of communication are essential to high-end production.
A Team of Engineers
Your engineers are the brains behind the products. They have the right training and knowledge to review production for faults and make corrections as necessary. They are also good sources for accountability because usually, product design happens with your engineers. If things aren’t quite looking as they should, these are the people to turn to for answers. For these reasons, keeping your engineers in close proximity can save you time and costs in the long run. They may seem like quite an investment into your business, but having a reputed team of engineers can be vital to your company’s growth and reputation.
Once you have the right team, create a process for your team that requires check-in-balances and reviews of products not just individually, but also with each other. Having at least two sets of eyes is almost always better than having one. Since they are the folks who will also have a solution to the problem, give them a chance to get creative and have the ideas flowing. Even a good product can be made better