Close up shot of CNC machine in action.

 

The automated nature of CNC machining enables the production of high precision and high accuracy parts cost-effectively and efficiently, fulfilling one-off and medium-volume production runs.

It has several advantages over other machining processes, which may include:

  • Greater accuracy for consistent product quality that can be repeated over and over.
  • Faster and more efficient production because a computer controls the process.
  • Improved safety because the work occurs behind a guard or even a closed, transparent safety door.
  • Labour saving because one skilled operator can run several machines at the same time.
  • Waste minimising due to increased accuracy which reduces errors in the manufacturing process.

What is CNC machining?

Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machining is a subtractive manufacturing process that typically employs computerised controls and machine tools to remove layers of material from a stock piece (known as the bank or workpiece) and produces a custom-designed part. In simple terms, a set of instructions is programmed by an operator and these instructions tell the CNC machine when and where to cut and which tools to use.

This process is suitable for a wide range of materials, including metals, plastics, wood, glass, foam, and composites, and can be applied across a range of industries.

There are several machine types including lathes, mills, grinders, cutters (wire, laser, and plasma), and welders. These machines use different processes to create the finished piece.

CNC machining is a subtractive manufacturing process, in contrast to additive manufacturing processes such as 3D printing, or formative manufacturing processes such as liquid injection moulding. While subtractive processes remove layers of material from the workpiece to produce custom shapes and designs, additive processes assemble layers of material to produce the desired form, and formative processes deform and displace stock material into the desired shape.

The CNC machining process

Evolving from the numerical control (NC) machining process in the 1940s and 50s which used punched tape cards, CNC machining is a manufacturing process that utilises computerised controls to operate and manipulate machine and cutting tools to shape stock material (metal, plastic, wood, foam, composite, etc) into custom parts and designs.

While the CNC machining process offers various capabilities and operations, the fundamental principles of the process remain largely the same throughout all of them.

The basic CNC machining process includes the following stages:

  • Designing the CAD (Computer Aided Design) model
  • Converting the CAD file to a CNC program
  • Preparing the CNC machine
  • Executing the machining operation
CNC machine operator working with Okuma CNC Lathe Model LH55-N-Cx4000

How can I benefit from CNC machining?

In CNC machining, principles of metrology (the scientific study of measurement) are applied throughout the production process to ensure that each part is machined precisely to the right size and shape, in accordance with specified tolerances.

Traditionally hand metrology tools such as vernier callipers and micrometers were used in CNC machine workshops and while these tools were very effective, they were less accurate. Workshops with the addition of CNC machining processes can now rely on a more efficient and consistent set-up of metrology tools, leading to a higher quality of work.

What industries utilise CNC machining?

CNC machining produces parts and components for a wide range of industries including:

  • Aerospace
  • Defence
  • Infrastructure
  • Electrical generation
  • Mining
  • Automation
  • Food and beverage
  • General machining and fabrication workshops like Leussink’s

1. Aerospace

In the aerospace industry, components are subject to harsh environments, so there is a requirement for tighter/higher tolerances than in other industries.

The CNC machining process ensures the consistent and accurate manufacturing of these components.

2. Oil & Gas

In the oil & gas industry, the installation of components relies on a high degree of accuracy. This can be obtained using the CNC machining process. For example, a drilling rig that is in a remote location is subjected to extremely harsh weather conditions, so every component must be reliable and robust.

3. Military and Defence

Within the military and defence industries, components need to be manufactured to a high standard, and these components need to be kept up with the latest technological advancements to provide the best level of safety and protection. This can easily be obtained with the CNC machining process.

CNC machining from Leussink

The team at Leussink offers an up-to-date and comprehensive CNC machining process, working across many sectors and industries including defence, agriculture, energy, oil & gas, mining and minerals processing, pulp and paper, heavy industry, transport, construction, civil engineering and marine.

Leussink has a variety of CNC machines, including our two Okuma CNC Lathe Model LH55-N-Cx4000 with OSP-P300LA control lathes. Together these CNC machines provide Leussink with advanced technology and greater capacity in the heavy engineering area for repair and rework and specialist high-end jobs.

Through Leussink’s knowledge and decades of experience, our skilled team can provide our client’s engineering requirements.

For more information on Leussink’s CNC machining services contact us on 02 4260 7777 or visit our website.