Category Archive: CNC Machining

How Do Industries Use CNC Machining?

Computer numerical control (CNC) machining is responsible for producing precision custom parts for a variety of demanding industries. Depending upon the particular industry and application, accuracy prevents component failure that could result in expensive downtime, employee injuries, and more. CNC machine tools—including mills, lathes, plasma cutters, electric discharge machines (EDM), and water jet cutters—enable the reliable and consistent production of parts for virtually every industry sector.

CNC machining provides many advantages over traditional machining, including:

  • Improved worker safety
  • Reduced labor costs
  • Higher part accuracy
  • Error-free setup
  • Visualization eliminates test runs
  • Higher cutting parameters
  • Increased tool flexibility

In this blog post, we’ll discuss some ways that various industries use CNC machining.

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Aerospace Industry

A photo of a plane's landing gear

The aerospace industry is one in which the accuracy and consistency of machined parts are absolutely critical. CNC machines can create complex parts and individual prototypes within the tightest tolerances, which is essential for parts used in aircraft and spacecraft. Examples of commonly machined aerospace components include:

  • Landing gear parts
  • Antennae
  • Bushings
  • Airfoils
  • Electrical connectors
  • Manifolds
  • Radio frequency suppression materials

CNC machining allows aerospace OEMs and suppliers to meet the strict quality and safety standards held by their industry. Aerospace manufacturers rely heavily on 5-axis machines for superior cutting speed, finishes, and efficiency for many of the smaller components required used in aerospace equipment.

Automotive Industry

In the automotive industry, computer control and automation facilitate tasks like drilling and boring, giving more options for production and prototyping. CNC-machined auto parts ultimately improve the functionality, reliability, and power of vehicles. Modern automotive manufacturers rely on CNC machining for a variety of solutions, including:

  • Interior panels
  • Engine parts
  • Lighting components
  • Suspension components
  • Exhaust system components
  • Fluid system components

Marine Industry

Waterborne equipment requires the use of corrosion-resistant materials due to constant exposure to humidity or direct contact with water. This includes a variety of marine-grade metal materials, such as steel, copper, and brass. CNC machining frequently provides marine parts such as:

  • Insulating cases
  • Electronic parts
  • Boat parts
  • Propellers
  • Engine components
  • Prototype molds

This versatile machining method produces durable and corrosion-resistant marine components for marine equipment ranging from small boats to large shipping vessels.

Medical Industry

CNC machining solutions offer increased precision and enhanced repeatability when creating medical instruments, orthotics, and surgical implants. Additional benefits of CNC machining for the medical sector include an ability to produce detailed automated reports necessary for product tracking and FDA process approval, compatibility with specialized medical materials, and quick prototyping that speeds time to market for new solutions.

A photo of a Magnetic Resonance Imaging machine – MRI

CNC machining enables the creation of numerous precision medical devices such as:

  • Implants
  • Electrical parts
  • Orthotic devices
  • Medical instruments
  • Electronic enclosures for monitoring devices
  • Research equipment
  • Shielded enclosures
  • MRI machines
  • Customized sterile packaging

Benefits of Partnering With EMC Precision

Since 1925, our family-operated precision machining company has maintained industry-leading attention to accuracy, repeatability, and precision, along with a focus on innovation and technology. We are a Lean manufacturing facility dedicated to best practices at every level of our business.

EMC Precision’s dedication to excellence through continuous improvement is reinforced through our commitment to integrity, teamwork, and superior service for everyone involved. These values have built a strong culture that ensures your custom products are delivered on time, with extremely low defect rates, and at the lowest possible cost.

We support customers in numerous industries with our precision-machined products and assemblies. Our partners count on us for a full range of turning and milling capabilities that conform to the tightest tolerances. To see how our CNC machining services can support projects in your industry, please contact us today.

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A Guide to CNC Machining Materials

CNC machining is a highly repeatable and accurate manufacturing process for creating parts ranging from prototype to high-volume production runs. CNC tooling uses pre-programmed instructions to cut a solid block of material into the desired part. The versatility of this process makes it suitable for a wide range of applications and their specific requirements. While CNC machining is adaptable, it’s important to start with the right material to achieve the desired finished product.

different kind of metallic profiles

Material Selection Process

It can be a challenge to figure out which material is the perfect fit for your application. To ensure that your material selection is best for your specific project, it is crucial to follow these steps:

1.Define material requirements. Material selection begins with defining your material requirements. Consider factors such as the electrical and environmental conditions of your application, part size requirements, desired mechanical properties, cosmetic preferences, and cost requirements.

2.Identify top material candidates. Once you have defined your material requirements, narrow down your selection to materials that fulfill those needs.

3.Select the final material. Once you have identified your top material candidates, it’s time to make the final decision. This might mean a compromise between two or more material requirements.

Common Materials Used for CNC Machining

Choosing the material for your CNC machining project can be challenging, so it can be extremely beneficial to consult an expert. Experts can understand your project and its specific requirements and suggest an appropriate material.

Some of the most common materials used in CNC machining include:

Aluminum

Warehouse of aluminum plates. Rolled metal products. 3d illustration.

Aluminum is a cost-effective, versatile material that is easily machined, making it suitable for a wide range of machining projects. It has a good strength-to-weight ratio, and machining for aluminum parts is quicker than other materials. Although it’s weaker than steel, anodizing aluminum adds a hard, protective layer.

Brass

Because of its highly polished look that’s similar to gold, brass is often found in cosmetic applications, such as architecture projects. It’s easy to machine due to its stability and low strength. Brass is also a good choice for low friction applications because of its electrical conductivity.

Carbon Steel

Considered mild-grade steel, carbon steel is stronger, tougher, and cheaper than stainless steel. It’s easy to machine and weld and is commonly used for industrial applications requiring a high degrees of toughness and strength. Carbon steel can also be heat treated to enhance hardness.

Copper

Warehouse of copper plates. Rolled metal products. 3d illustration.

Regarded as the best electrical conductor, copper is perfect for various automotive applications such as cooling and heating exchanges. Copper also features good corrosion resistance, and its thermal conductivity makes it easily shaped during CNC machining.

Nickel

Nickel is a difficult alloy to a machine, as it produces high levels of heat when cut, and its strength provides resistance to metal removal. However, this material is desirable due to its aqueous corrosion resistance and strength.

Titanium

Titanium has a high melting point making it ideal for a wide range of industries, including aerospace and medical. This strong but lightweight metal is a good conductor of heat, and its corrosion resistance properties provide protection against salt and water.

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel comes in many grades and features great corrosion and wear resistance, high strength, and good ductility. This material is easily machined, welded, and polished, and its desirable features make it ideal for the aerospace and automotive industries.

CNC Machining with EMC Precision

CNC machining is popular across a wide variety of industries, and choosing the right material is crucial in ensuring a quality finished product. At EMC Precision, our CNC machining capabilities include a wide range of materials to suit the various needs of our customers. With a lineup of advanced CNC machining equipment and a commitment to precision, we can handle machining projects ranging from prototype orders to high-volume production runs.

For help finding the right material for your CNC machining project, contact us today, or request a quote to start your order.

CNC Machining vs. Conventional Machining

Big CNC Lathe and Milling MachineMachining is critical to the manufacturing of products used across multiple facets of daily life. This controlled process involves using power-driven machine tools to cut raw material from a workpiece to produce the desired shape and size from materials such as metal, plastic, rubber, wood, paper, and more.

Machining can be described as conventional, which requires manual technician prompting and manipulation of the cutting tools, or non-conventional, such as CNC machining, which relies on computer automation to drive the process. While each approach offers distinct drawbacks and advantages, both aim to produce the highest quality machined parts.

What is Conventional Machining?

The conventional machining process uses a human operator to direct and control machining tools such as milling, boring, and drilling machines as well as lathes and other sharp cutting tools. This individual is responsible for driving the location and intensity of tool contact with the raw material through the use of buttons, levers, or wheels in order to achieve the intended product geometry.

What is CNC Machining?

Although CNC machining still requires operator oversight to manage software, functions in the CNC process are primarily carried out by pre-programmed computer designations that guide the movements of the machining tools. Tools used in the CNC process do not require contact with the raw materials.

Conventional Machining vs. CNC Machining

While both conventional and CNC machining methods work to create high-quality machined parts, the two differ in many ways.

Cost

  • Conventional Machining. Conventional machining generally costs less and is more cost-effective and efficient for small jobs.
  • CNC Machining. CNC machining is more expensive for small jobs, but provides greater efficiency and cost savings for larger jobs.

Production

  • Conventional Machining. The quality of the final product is largely dependent on the skills and abilities of the machine technician or operator.
  • CNC Machining. Geometry is loaded into the software, so the risk for human error is minimized in the quality equation.

Replication

  • Conventional Machining. Due to human involvement, it is difficult to guarantee a high level of part consistency, making conventional machining ideal for small runs or single pieces.
  • CNC Machining. Since machines run on computer commands, identical parts or components can be produced with ease, making CNC machining ideal for large quantities of highly consistent products.

Experience and Skills

  • Conventional Machining. Operator experience greatly influences part quality and consistency.
  • CNC Machining. Operators with little experience can still produce highly consistent and quality parts due to computer-intervention.

Labor Requirements

  • Conventional Machining. Each machine requires a dedicated operator, and a high level of technician involvement is necessary to direct the tools. Operators must be able to produce a variety of parts, which requires extensive knowledge, skills, and experience.
  • CNC Machining. Since minimal operator involvement is needed to manage the CNC process, a single operator can oversee multiple machines at once with high degrees of accuracy and precision, which reduces labor costs.

Due to improved product quality, highly consistent production replication, and reduced labor demands, CNC machining is the preferred manufacturing method in most instances.

An infographic showing the differences between conventional machining and CNC machining

CNC machine with a drawing behind itCNC Swiss Machining Services with EMC Precision

While both conventional and CNC machining methods seek to create quality products, the CNC process offers several advantages over its conventional counterpart. From improved product quality to increased labor requirements, CNC machining methods are ideal for large run projects that require high levels of quality and consistency.

At EMC Precision, our line-up of Swiss, multi-axis, multi-spindle, horizontal, and vertical machining centers allows us to provide customers with the versatility, productivity, and cost savings needed to tackle any job in industries like agriculture, government and military, medical devices and equipment, and more. Driven by our commitment to quality and safety, our team maintains ISO 9001:2015 and IATF 16949 certifications.

For more information on our CNC Swiss machining or other services, contact us or request a quote today.