First of all what exactly is CNC machining? It stands for computerized numerical control. But what CNC machining really means is perfection. It’s all about producing top quality parts on prototypes and low volume production runs at low costs and being as close to the original design as possible. Being an expert at the intricacy of the technology and capabilities is critical to achieving this goal. And we’re talking about 1 ten thousands of an inch here. The mind set for businesses that do their own CNC machining or are considering taking their current CNC machining in house, has to be perfection.
With low volume prototype production of 1 to 1,000 parts, CAM (computer aided manufacturing) programs must be used to truly optimize the CNC machining process. Applying best practices throughout, from design to manufacture, should drive the machined parts to your exact designs.
Keeping material scrappage as low as possible, will also help in keeping your costs down. In addition, working with skilled and experienced staff can play a major role in CNC machining that’s done properly. In that there is still an “art” side of CNC machining that needs experienced eyes to see and make immediate corrections and adaptations.
Quality control is a very important aspect of CNC low volume machining. Every machining operation and part needs to have a process for inspection to ensure compliance to your specifications and designs. Completed products need to be evaluated and documented as proof positive that they meet your standards.
The critical thing here for businesses that are considering taking their CNC machining in house is that they should take their time to adequately plan and prepare. They should have a process and system for their prototypes. One or two mistakes will often eliminate any savings, and often raise the costs substantially than if they where to just to outsource the project in the first place.