Although the first CNC milling was invented in 1952, it wasn't until after 1967 that the technology began to gain traction in manufacturing. As of now, the global CNC milling market is expected to exceed $25 billion by 2028. So why use CNC milling? What is CNC milling and what are the advantages of using it?
CNC milling is a machining process that uses computer control and cutting tools to selectively remove material from a workpiece and produce custom-designed parts. CNC milling has a table that automatically moves (or rotates) the workpiece in different planes so that the tool can work on it. Unlike manual lathes, CNC milling operates by converting a 3D CAD model into a set of computer instructions, which are then used to automatically dictate the motion and movement of the tool.
Accuracy: One of the biggest advantages of using CNC milling is that they can manufacture parts exactly to specification. Because CNC milling relies on computer instructions to make parts, they eliminate the potential for human error that is common in manually operating machines. This means you can accurately create complex parts while achieving tolerances of 0.004mm.
Fast and efficient: Traditional milling machines often require operators to manually change cutting tools depending on the cutting operation to be performed. This is not only time-consuming, but also inefficient, as the end result is based on operator judgment. CNC milling has a rotating carousel that can hold up to 30 different tools. These tools are automatically changed on the spindle during machining operations, allowing cutting operations to be performed quickly and efficiently. With CNC milling, you can have parts ready in hours, while traditional methods can take days (or weeks).
Wide choice of materials: CNC milling is compatible with a wide range of materials, including plastics, metals and composites. As long as you have a block of material, CNC milling will be no problem.
Affordability: We can talk about precision, speed, and tons of other advantages all day long, but nothing beats affordability, especially for businesses looking to rely on third-party manufacturers. CNC milling is one of the most affordable modern manufacturing processes. In fact, CNC milled parts cost less than comparable 3D printed parts.