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Benefits of CNC Prototyping

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 complex and expensive, they almost immediately pay for themselves by lessening the workload and precluding errors.

The first key 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 could be left unwatched for hours or, if necessary, even days, allowing operators to spend time on other tasks. This also allows a company to employ fewer operators, therefore saving on overhead expenses. Without an operator, safety is increased as no one will be holding the tool, and in the event of a potentially hazardous machining error, only the tool will suffer damage. 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 small variations among finished outcomes, but a CNC machine will generate exactly the same result at all times. This is extremely important in the modern generation of homogeneous and compatible parts, where one defective cut can make an entire machine totally unusable. All that will be necessary is one program to be developed and 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 important advantage to CNC prototyping is the flexibility of the machine. Although humans are obviously more trainable and flexible than machines, a CNC machine can be fully reprogrammed in a matter of hours to generate a totally different product. Therefore, it is possible to revert back to old programs or install new programs if a new work piece is needed. 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 guarantees that CNC prototyping machines can meet growing customer demands, considering they can easily shift from producing parts in surplus to parts that are lacking if necessary.