How Can CNC Machining Speed Up Product Turnaround?

CNC machining offers a great way to speed up product turnaround of a range of manufactured goods for a number of reasons. These include the opportunity for 24 hours a day productivity, the ability to eliminate the need for a pre-production prototype, quick machine set up, and offering machine operators a chance to multitask and run several machines at once.

Firstly, the latest computer numerical controlled machines are much more efficient, with a much higher up time than traditional manual operated lathes and milling machines. This is because CNC machining is run by computer control, and only need an operator to monitor their progress rather than constant attention that their manual counterparts require. This makes it possible for almost 24 hours a day, 7 days a week operation, meaning more products can be manufactured in less time. Computer numerical controlled machines only ever need to be turned off for maintenance, offering 99% up time, so product turnaround can not only be increased, it can also be sustained for days, weeks or even months on end.

The other key benefit of this method of computer controlled manufacturing is seen at the very start of a production run of products. Unlike manually run machines, no model or prototype of the product is needed. This is because the designer can simulate production on a CAD drawing of a product. When they are happy that the product is ready for production, the electronic drawing can be emailed over to a factory equipped with CNC machining tools. The product can then be put into production immediately, meaning if an order is received in the morning, the first batch can be sent out for delivery that evening.

Another key reason why CNC machining can speed up product turnaround is the speed at which a product can be taken from the designer’s computer to the factory floor. Because a computer numerical controlled machine does not require hand drawn blueprints or designs, the CAD design can be sent to the machine electronically. This means that production can begin much quicker than with a manual machine, where a design would first need to be printed out and then the relevant information inputted by hand into the machine in order to produce the component or product. As a result, it is now possible to get a product in production within a few minutes of the factory having the CAD design emailed over, as long as a machine on the shop floor is available to be assigned the job.

The final reason why CNC machining equipment can speed up product turnaround is the fact that one operator can manage several of these machines at once. Because all of the actual manufacturing is controlled by a computer system, the operator merely needs to make sure the machine continues to run and keep it supplied with materials. This is perfect for firms who require large batches of products completed in a short amount of time, as it is possible to have more than one CNC machining system working on an individual component or product at once, multiplying the rate of production.