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CNC Prototyping and Its Advantages

CNC (computer numerical control) prototyping is a reasonably new process in the area of machining allowing for improved efficiency through higher levels of automation, and by letting the machine and its computer controls handle all the work. While CNC prototyping machines are complicated and pricey, they almost instantly pay for themselves by decreasing the workload and controlling errors.

The first main advantage of CNC prototyping is that it improves automation, removing the need of an operator for all but a few parts of the work. CNC prototyping machines may be left alone for hours or even days, allowing operators to do other tasks. This also allows a company to employ fewer operators, therefore saving on overhead expenses. Safety is increased when there is no operator, because then any damage occurring after a potentially hazardous machining error will be confined to the machine itself. CNC prototyping machines can also work significantly faster than human machinists simply because they are stronger and need no breaks. They can also operate late at night, when most workers have returned home, because machines do not have to worry about getting sleep or receiving overtime pay.

The second most significant benefit to CNC prototyping is that it produces the same exact result each and every time. Even the best human operator will have slight variations among finished results, while a CNC machine will come up with exactly the same result each time. This is truly important in the modern era of uniform and transposable parts, where a single problematic cut can make the whole machine useless. All that is needed is for one program to be developed as well as installed into the machine. Then the machine can toil away at however many work pieces are needed, producing an exact replica down to thousandths of an inch each and every time.

The third substantial advantage to CNC prototyping is the flexibility offered by the machine. Though humans are a lot more flexible and trainable in comparison to machines, a CNC machine can be totally reprogrammed in a matter of hours to manufacture a completely different product. It is hence possible to go back to old programs or install new programs whenever a new work piece must be produced. This gives CNC prototyping machines a great advantage over other machines, because they can easily shift to producing a totally new product without having to install new parts or performing an overhaul of major components. This also ensures that CNC prototyping machines will be able to keep up with customer demand, knowing how they can very quickly switch from producing a part in surplus to one that is lacking, if ever there is a need.