Computer numerical control (CNC) machining is a versatile, automated set of manufacturing processes that manufacturers use to rapidly and accurately create repeatable components. At Paulson Manufacturing Corporation, we offer numerous CNC precision machining services for our PPE products to pass the benefits of CNC processing on to our customers.
What Is CNC Machining?
CNC machining is an automated manufacturing process utilizing machining and cutting equipment that follows computer-programmed instructions to shape workpieces and substrates into new products. This process is fast, especially for the production of high-volume orders, and automation removes the risk of human error. Manufacturers increasingly prefer CNC machining over traditional or manual processes because of its speed, precision, and waste and error reductions.
CNC systems translate in-depth design files into programmable instructions that CNC machines read and execute. Product designers create a precise, virtual product design using computer-aided design (CAD) software that specifies every construction detail. Once the CAD design is complete, manufacturers can execute CNC machining processes extremely quickly, with minimal human intervention. Programmers translate the CAD using computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) software to produce instructions the CNC hardware can understand. Machinists provide the equipment with the right cutting tools, and the machines follow the instructions to cut, drill, mill, and turn the workpiece into a finished three-dimensional component.
CNC Machine Capabilities, Benefits, and Applications
CNC machining offers manufacturers an increased range of production capabilities because they can produce complex and diverse goods without sacrificing speed or quality. Some key benefits of CNC machining include:
- Versatility: CNC machining tools can shape, cut, drill, bend, and otherwise form substrates into complex shapes. If a product designer can create a CAD drawing for a product, CNC machines can produce it. Also, the process provides material versatility. CNC plastic machining utilizes thermoplastics, and CNC machining works with metal substrates, rubber, and more as well.
- Precision: CNC machines can produce goods that are virtually identical to the original design file with high repeatability, and they are capable of operating within tight tolerances that manual processes can’t replicate. This accuracy is essential for complex configurations in consumer, commercial, and industrial goods.
- Mass Production: CNC machining can create low- and high-volume orders without reducing product quality. Machines can even produce repeat orders of goods that are identical to the first productions.
- Prototyping: Unlike manufacturing processes with costly upfront investments, CNC machining easily accommodates rapid prototyping.
- Less Waste: With a reduced risk of errors, manufacturers generate less material scrap. This increases process cost-effectiveness and efficiency.
Common industrial applications for CNC machining products include:
- Aerospace: Airfoils, bushings, landing gear components, and manifolds
- Electronics: Amplifier housings, electrical insulation, and heat sinks
- Healthcare: Implants, MRI equipment, orthotic components, and shielded enclosures
- Marine: Engine parts and insulating casings
- Military: Communication and transportation components
- Oil and Gas: Cylinders, pins, pistons, rods, and valves
- Transportation: Components for cars, freight or passenger trains, and shipping vessels
CNC Machining Considerations
As CNC machining is a subtractive process, follow these best practices:
- Carefully gauge part tolerances to minimize scrap production. Overly tight tolerances will produce more waste, increasing costs.
- Ensure the proper sizing of material blanks to account for the removal of excess material while still allowing for the necessary product dimensions.
- Choose a material that best fits the component complexity and budget.
- Consider the thickness of machined walls to prevent warping or weakness.
Common Types of CNC Machining
Common types of CNC machining include:
- Lathing and Turning: Rotating a cylindrical workpiece to cut away excess material from the surface
- Milling: Cutting holes and grooves into workpieces
- Laser Machines: Using light beams to precisely cut through workpieces instead of mechanical or water cutting tools
- Electrical Discharge Machining (EDM): Utilizing an arc of electricity to cut away excess material
- Plasma Cutting: Applying torch heat to cut or burn away excess material from a workpiece
CNC Machining Solutions From Paulson Manufacturing
Paulson Manufacturing specializes in CNC machining and custom engineering services for the production of high-quality PPE goods and components in our Temecula, CA, facility. We manufacture industry-best protective gear, transparent face and eye protection, and more. Our company is ISO 9001 certified to ensure industrial workers and first responders have safe, reliable PPE. Our in-house, turnkey production solutions include designing, tooling, injection molding, machining, assembling, packaging, and shipping services to meet all customer needs.
Contact us today to learn more about our capabilities or to place your next order.