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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 complicated and pricey, they almost instantly pay for themselves by decreasing the workload and controlling errors.

The first core 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 can be left to itself for hours or even days if needed, allowing operators to perform other tasks. This also lets a company hire fewer operators, thus saving on overhead. 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 a lot faster than human machinists, as they are much stronger and have no need to take breaks. They can also work late at night, when the majority of the workers have gone home, since machines do not need to be concerned about sleep or being paid for overtime hours.

The second biggest benefit to CNC prototyping is that it produces the exact same outcome 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 highly important in the modern time of homogeneous and exchangeable parts, where a single defective cut can render the machine entirely 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 considerable advantage to CNC prototyping is the machine’s flexibility. 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. 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 large advantage over other machines, as they are quick to shift to producing an entirely different output without needing new part installations or an overhaul of key 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.

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