2021 Trends and Developments in CNC Machining
The year 2021 has been full of twists and turns for many industries, including CNC machining. However, given the various developments in the industry for the last year, it is safe to say that there were far more ups than downs in the world of CNC machining. In this article, we will list the top four trends and developments that will shape CNC machining in 2021.
1. Enhanced Machining Tools
Machining tools are one of the most important parts of the CNC machining process. The tools utilized to determine a significant proportion of the speed, cost, and quality of a machining project. Superior tools can cut faster and with higher quality, reducing machining time and cost significantly. As a result, it’s no surprise that better machining tools were a major trend in 2021, with polycrystalline diamond and solid carbide tools taking the top spots. These tools have proven extremely durable, more efficient and effective at cutting, versatile, and rapid. They also vibrate less, are more resistant to wear, have a longer tool life, require less maintenance, and generate less noise when in use. The capacity of these tools to produce tight tolerances and create parts with exceptionally high precision is incredibly useful to CNC machining.
2. More axes, faster machining
The effort is always being made, in the development of CNC machining as manufacturing technology, to increase the functionality and speed of machines, while reducing cost. The machining industry took a big step in this direction in 2021 with the application of 6-axis machining. It was already a fact that more axes translate to more functionality and less cycle time, and so while 6-axis machining has long been in existence in different forms, it wasn’t common. That changed in 2021.
5-axis machining works by moving in the X, Y, and Z axes, while also rotating in the A and B axes. While this technology is already awesome, 6-axis machining takes it even further by adding C-axis rotation. This can increase cycle speed by as much as 75%. Now, 6-axis may not be of extra benefit when milling a simple part. However, bring on a highly complex part and watch 6-axis machining perform in all its glory。
3. Improved software
With all the developments in CNC machining hardware, there had to be corresponding software developments as well. CAD and CAM software are the software aspects of CNC machining. These have always been integral and indispensable in CNC manufacturing. Advancements in CAM have allowed the entire machining process to be simulated in a virtual setup. With CAM, the precise machine operations needed to produce a CAD model are well drawn out, adding a high level of customization and performance observation. The optimal setup (speed and feed), sequence, and tool path for producing a particular part are simulated in exact detail. These features eliminate errors, as the optimal settings are always provided. They also remove collision risk, as advanced collision detection systems have been integrated into CAM software. In general, all these significantly improve functionality, reduce waste, and increase manufacturing speed.
4. High demand for manufacturing on demand
Manufacturing on demand, also known as manufacturing as a service (MaaS), has been in existence for a while. However, its immense benefits, as well as the inherent limitations of the traditional customer-to-machine shop model, became very apparent in 2021.
Quite many machining shops had to close because of the pandemic, and so many people and businesses who had manufacturing needs but only relied on nearby machine shops were left stranded. With MaaS companies such as Xin Tian Jian Precision MFG on the other hand, machining capacity was always available. With over 120 sets of 3-5 Axis CNC Machines, 2 CNC processing manufacturers, Xin Tian Jian’s MaaS model also allowed much-needed emergency medical manufacturing to be carried out without delay throughout the year.
CNC machining has been subjected to various trends and developments that have advanced the technology and the entire industry since its inception. Despite everything that happened, 2021 was no exception. Many of the technologies that were still in development in 2021 and will be fully implemented by 2022, which is already looking promising for the industry.
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