What a Job in CNC Machining Looks Like

Photo Of CNC Machine Workers - CMS North AmericaComputer numerical control (CNC) machining uses a computer interface to program data points into a multi-axis tool system that precisely mills material to the desired shape. A job in CNC machining can blossom into a rewarding career of manufacturing the items that make modern living possible.

What Does a CNC Machinist Do?

A CNC machinist monitors and maintains the sophisticated equipment that is used to cut metal, wood, glass, and more. This includes ensuring that the machine is supplied with raw materials, programming the machine for different tasks, checking the finished product while providing quality control, and maintaining or repairing the machine for quality assurance.

Education and Training

In most cases, a high school diploma is sufficient for an entry-level CNC machining job. Students with an early interest in the profession can get a jump-start on their training by familiarizing themselves with tools, drafting techniques, welding, and other shop work. If a student attends a high school that doesn’t offer wood or metal working courses, he or she can still pursue a job in CNC machining. A strong background in math and computer sciences, especially algebra, trigonometry, and geometry will provide a good foundation. After high school, aspiring machinists usually enroll in an apprenticeship program to learn the job from an experienced teacher. Those interested in learning more about the industry can sign up for CMS North America’s newsletter to stay apprised of the latest developments.

Job Prospects and Salary

The history of CNC machining is one of relentless innovation. That innovation has led to an increase in jobs for machinists. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that demand for CNC machining professionals will increase by 10%. With a median salary of $43,740, a machinist can provide a stable foundation for starting a family. Experienced CNC machinists can earn more as they progress through their career.

A Beginner’s Guide to Understanding CNC Machines

Photo Of A CNC Machine - CMS North AmericaCNC (Computer Numerical Control) machines redefine how manufacturing companies carry out various production processes. It is important to look at the specifications of the CNC machines available to choose one that resonates with the needs of the manufacturing company.

Here are the primary facts about these new generation machining processes.

Use of Advanced Technology

CNC machines are designed and assembled using top of the line technologies. Computers are used to test and monitor the functionality of the machines to ensure that they are working optimally and capable of delivering expected results. Engineers develop CNC commands that are then interpreted by the CNC control. For any given CNC machine, there will be about 40-50 commands. The computer automated manufacturing (CAM) software program can aid machinists in more complex programming commands.

Improves Manufacturing Capacity and Precision

The success of any manufacturing company is dependent on the efficiency of its production. CNC machines are designed to improve precision while increasing production capacity. This, in turn, translates into higher profits for the company.

Cost Saving

The machines allow the operators or technicians to take full advantage of the available raw materials by reducing waste. For example, companies that invest in CNC machines designed for wood machining can produce more high-quality wood products, such as gunstocks, without spending a fortune on raw materials. The reduction in operating costs enables companies to achieve their profit margins and sales objectives.

Promote Safety

CNC machines have the ability to do various tasks fast and with high precision while still maintaining a high level of safety. They have sensors and other safety features that have the ability to pinpoint flaws in the machine before disaster strikes. Since most of the processes are automated, operators can monitor them from the safety of the control room.

Enhanced Efficiency and Durability

Finding equipment and tools that are efficient and durable is not easy. The engineers who design and assemble computer numerical control machines have successfully managed to achieve both objectives by installing internal quality assurance sensors. These sensors monitor the quality of the end product to ensure it meets the set standards and requirements. The equipment is made from tested and approved parts and materials that can last for decades.

CNC machines have an immensely positive impact on the manufacturing process. Be sure to train employees on how to operate them to get maximum utility.

The History of Computer Numerical Control (CNC)

Photo Of A CNC Machine - CMS North AmericaSince the industrial revolution, modern life has depended on advanced machinery to manufacture everything from textiles to steel. The advent of computer numerical control (CNC) machines revolutionized the manufacturing industry by allowing for a programmable design of virtually limitless types of shapes. Tracing the history of computer numerical control demonstrates not only its importance but also the accelerating pace of change in manufacturing.

Precursors to Numerical Controls

Early attempts at automation began with camshafts designed with ridges placed in particular points to control machine tools. The cam would turn, and the pre-arranged grooves would trigger machine controls, similar to the way a player piano operates. While this basic method was successful at repeated and unmanned performance of simple tasks (notably carving out the gun stocks that were used by both sides during World War I), it wasn’t numerical control. CNC machining uses the abstract language of numbers to allow programmable designs that can be refined or completely altered. Cams, by contrast, must be machined and are not easily altered.

The Birth of Numerical Control

John T. Parsons is credited with developing the first numerical control system. While working as a machinist at his father’s company in the 1940s, Parsons begin working on innovative ways to build helicopter rotors for the nascent aerospace industry. Teaming with Frank Stulen, the two developed a method where one machinist would read the coordinates along an x and y-axis to two other machinists who would then make the cut. From there, they teamed with researchers at MIT to develop punch cards that could be programmed with enough points to provide for fully automated machining.

CNC Machining and CAD

Computer Assisted Design (CAD) teamed up with CNC machining to further improve the advances made in the 1940s and early 50s. Again, MIT led the way by developing a programming language that would generate coordinates for machined parts automatically, significantly reducing the time needed to develop the instructions fed into the milling machine. The real advent of CNC machining came in 1959 when the MIT team successfully demonstrated an entirely automated machine that produced aluminum ashtrays. The first CAD program—the electronic drafting machine—allowed designers to ‘draw’ the desired part right on the computer interface, bypassing paper drafting. By the 1970s, CAD programs were widely in use.

In the span of a generation, CNC machining advanced to such a degree that it made possible the widespread automation of virtually any machined part of wood, stone, or metal. This has reduced time and labor costs and allowed goods to spread across the globe for a fraction of what a hand-made equivalent would cost.

Tricks to Determine Which Natural Stone Is Right for a Project

Photo Of A Stone Cutting Machine - CMS North AmericaWhen it comes to stone machining, it can be difficult to decide whether natural stones, such as limestone, are right for a new project. Here are some issues that can sometimes arise with natural materials, which will help determine the best type of material for a stone machining project.

Erosion

Erosion can happen due to weathering, as described below, or it can happen due to poor handling or excess exposure. One way to combat erosion is to use the stone in areas that are shielded from harsh winds by bushes or other landscaping.

Peeling and Crumbling

Peeling means that the stone is coming apart in layers. This can be either a defect or a result of the coating products used. Crumbling can occur if the stone itself is weak, but regular maintenance to preserve the material can prevent this from happening.

Weathering

Weathering is an effect that occurs due to natural environmental patterns, such as rain, wind, snow, and heat. Most natural stone is extremely durable; however, unlike metal, it does absorb water easily, which can cause issues. Little can be done to prevent weathering, but it would be wise not to use certain stones, like limestone, where water will be consistently in contact with it.

Chipping and Cracking

Chipping can happen due to use or vandalism at the edges of the stone. A skilled mason can repair chips. Cracking, too, can sometimes occur with natural material. Minor cracks aren’t always an issue, but major cracks have to be repaired through either patching or total replacement.

While natural stone has worked as a valuable and durable material throughout history and across many different industries, it’s important to consider the placement and usage of the finished product when determining the right type of stone material. Stone machining can create intricate architectural elements, functional interior design pieces, and more using the right materials.

Looking Ahead: Trends to Watch in the Float Glass Industry

The global float glass market is projected to hit 84 million metric tons by 2020. Potential high demand from automotive and construction markets is expected to spur this growth. Asia-Pacific is the fastest growing market thanks to rising construction activity, rapid urbanization, and increasing demand for luxury cars, which use more glass than conventional options. Mature markets, such as Europe and North America, are expected to benefit from new energy policies for buildings and laminated glazing.

China

In 2013, China accounted for about 48 percent of the worldwide glass demand, and this is expected to grow to 52 percent in 2018. Traditionally, high demand for flat glass has been identified with Japan, Western Europe, and North America. Today, China is the largest national glass market in the world. Many manufacturers in China are geared to create products that meet the Western production level and environmental standards. This adaptation is expected to change the face of the Chinese glass industry in the next ten years.

The North American Market

In the glass industry, North America is the strongest market, and manufacturers anticipate an increased demand for glass and its products. The primary markets that show a steady demand include residential, commercial, and automotive, and they are expected to demand even more glass in the coming years. The emerging energy market is projected to be a lucrative opportunity for industry players, with increasing use in e-glass, solar panels, and photovoltaic modules representing a key factor in driving growth.

Effect of Economic Issues

Industry experts anticipate glass industry markets in Russia and some South American countries to remain slow due to economic issues. The economies of many countries in Africa are under equipped, but Africa remains a region of growth potential. Political uncertainties in several African and South American countries are posing risks that may destabilize markets in those areas. However, many companies in these areas are expected to look into creating partnerships with major industry players in mature markets.

Industry Players

Manufacturing and production companies make up part of the robust force that is driving the growth in the glass industry. More companies are poised to emerge to meet the high demand in automotive and construction industries with products such as double-thick glasses, hybrid guide plate, lightweight glazing glass, and solar control glazing glasses. With more mergers and acquisitions comes additional growth.

Flat glass is the major material that is used in the production of windows, windscreens, photovoltaic modules, solar panels, and facades. The demand for these products is high, with a predicted growth in the glass industry forecasted at a CAGR of 5.5 percent from 2016 to 2021.