Embracing the power and potential of CNC equipment is an appealing option for all sorts of small, ambitious businesses. However, the cost of acquiring such machinery can be prohibitive, at least in theory. To help you overcome concerns and see the value that CNC machining represents, here are a few of the fundamental advantages that will justify your decision to invest in this tech.
Secondhand Options Are Available
The major advantage from an affordability perspective is that you don’t need to rely on brand-new CNC gear if your budget is limited.
Instead, it’s far more cost-effective to get a press brake from a dealer used, or snap up a mill, router, laser cutter or any other piece of kit you require second hand.
As long as you look for well-maintained, quality used units, you should be more than satisfied. And because CNC machines are usually built to last, they remain relevant for years or even decades after their initial launch, especially with new integrations and upgrades.
The Speed and Efficiency of Production Will Improve
CNC machining is preferred over manual alternatives because of how much faster and more efficient it is for all sorts of operations.
Whether you have a fairly straightforward production process to catalyze, or a more complex set of operations involved in turning raw materials into a finished product, moving to CNC machinery rather than relying on older techniques will make a big difference to your output.
In turn, this means that you’ll be able to boost revenues and grow your business significantly, scaling to meet demand as it rises rather than finding that you are being held back by production inefficiencies.
Errors Will Be Reduced, Along with Waste
The repeatability and accuracy of CNC machining is another reason to recommend it over archaic manufacturing techniques.
By largely eliminating the human element from the process of turning a workpiece into a completed component, you will cut down on the likelihood of mistakes being made. This leads to a reduction in waste, which will also help from a financial perspective.
Employee Safety Will Increase
CNC equipment still relies on human operators to fulfill its potential, just like older manufacturing hardware. However, because flesh and blood workers will usually be kept well out of harm’s way when CNC machining is taking place, they will be better protected from the more dangerous aspects of the manufacturing process.
You will need to ensure that the correct training is provided to employees so that CNC machine safety standards are maintained, or that you employ people with previous training and experience, of course. But even so, the safety perks are obvious in either case.
Manufacturing Flexibility Will Grow
If you can think of a material, then there is every chance that there is a CNC machine out there which can work with it. Whether you want to process metals and plastics, glass and ceramics, woods and composites, or any other equivalent, modern equipment is up to the task.
Then there’s the aspect of additive manufacturing, also known as 3D printing in the mainstream. This takes CNC machining and flips the script. Instead of removing material from a large workpiece, you’re conjuring a component from scratch on a workbed, layer by layer.
In short, any design you can conceive of is executable with the right combination of materials and machinery. It’s just a matter of deciding which is right for your business.
Complexity Is No Problem
Speaking of creating cutting-edge designs, another selling point of using a CNC machine over relying on manual fabrication methods is that the precision offered by computer-controlled tooling is second to none.
So if you have a very complex component to create, or you have very tight tolerances to meet, CNC gear will get you there time after time.
This also helps designers and machine operators to work more closely with one another, ensuring that each has adequate input into a project and that the results are closer to the ideal from day one.
Balance Is Achievable
Last of all, you need to remember that you don’t have to go all-in on a CNC-based approach to fabrication and manufacturing. It’s possible to gradually adopt this technology and integrate it piece by piece over the course of several years, rather than going cold turkey on manual methods and equipment.
There will be challenges to overcome and costs to encompass when embracing CNC machining in your small business. Of this there is no doubt. But with plenty of research, an eye on the budget, and a willingness to look to the future, it can be achieved relatively seamlessly, no matter the scale of your operations.