With the advancements in plasma cutting technology and the popularity of CNC machines increasing, the plasma cutting industry has undergone a major change. A CNC machine comprises a computer which makes use of a program that controls the cutting tool which shapes the material. Today, CNC cutting is being used by many manufacturing industries for several applications such as agriculture, electronics, automotive, etc.
CNC cutting offers several advantages and, in some cases, it has completely replaced equipment which requires an operator. CNC cutting offers expedient, efficient and precise production which is suitable for producing large quantities of items that are normally manufactured using conventional methods such as grinders, routers, shaping machines, centre lathes or vertical millers. And, the main benefits offered by CNC cutting over the conventional processes is in terms of reduced time and cost.
Is CNC Cutting Better Than Conventional Cutting?
So, the commonly asked question is whether CNC cutting is better than conventional cutting? Well, the objective of both CNC, as well as conventional cutting, is to shape raw metal or plastic into a finished part. However, the main difference between the two processes in that conventional cutting is a manual process, whereas, CNC is automated and some of the main advantages of CNC cutting over conventional are the rate of production, speed and accuracy.
CNC cutting essentially makes use of a CAD (computer-aided design) software to produce a 2D or 3D model, which is then fed into the software that operates the machine tool via the computer to produce parts which are identical to the prototype. And, you can use the prototype, again and again, to manufacture more of the parts whenever required. And, the most important aspect of CNC technology is that it can produce matching accuracy, as close as .0001.
The conventional cutting process requires an operator who will set up the machine and operate it, while in the case of a CNC system, the operator enters the software program which will guide the entire cutting process.
You can use conventional and unconventional CNC machining for many different materials like brass, aluminium, copper, fiberglass, foam, plastic, steel, titanium, wood, polypropylene, etc. and it can be used for various machining processes such as boring, contouring, engraving, grinding, grooving, knurling, cutting, drilling and many more.
Benefits of CNC Cutting
Precision and Repeatability
The programs for cutting are stored in the CPU of the CNC machines, which means that the machines can be run repeatedly to produce the same exact parts, irrespective of the operator. This creates consistency and customers can rely on you to produce identical and precise components every time. However, with conventional cutting, you may get slight variations in the final product.
CNC systems are not as labour intensive as conventional cutting machines which allow you to keep your costs lower and you can pass the savings on to your customer. With CNC machines, there is no need to take a lot of breaks and the machines can be put to work 24×7. There is also much lesser wastage and the finished products are produced at a much faster rate, which results in increased profitability.
In CNC machines, the tools and materials are away from the operators making them much safer, whereas conventional cutting systems require the operator to be close to the moving tools and materials.
Whenever required, the software is updated by the CNC machines automatically and apart from replacing the tools and keeping the machine clean, they do not require more in terms of the maintenance.
CNC cutters are extremely versatile and can produce complex and intricate designs with accuracy of up to 1/1000 inch. There are so many applications that a CNC machine can achieve which a conventional cutting machine cannot. So, if production, speed and accuracy are the main things you are looking for, then it is better to invest in a CNC cutting system for your business.