The global Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machine market is expected to reach a staggering $117 billion by 2027. Simultaneously, the CNC industry is rapidly evolving, implementing modern-day technologies designed to increase precision, efficiency, reduce waste, and cycle time. The growing need for reducing operating costs of production capacities, human resources, and errors in component production, led to the growth of manufacturing automation and higher demand for latest technology CNC machines. In the meantime, numerous huge manufacturing facilities are increasingly utilizing CNC lathes to perform cutting, drilling, knurling, deformation, facing, and turning operations, all while producing finished components or developing rapid prototyping models with the help of CNC machines.
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The continuous worldwide growth in product demand forced another wave of development in technology, leaving CNC on the apex of advancement. The development of CNC machining technology and the expansion of application fields play an important role in particular industries and national economies. Even though the trends of high precision and high speed of CNC machines are now old for more than ten years, the evolution of science and technology is endless and so are the possibilities that the machines offer as well. Envision the CNC machining industry as a wide ocean with many varying interests and trends within it. And with so many sub-technologies floating around the industry, new trends and possibilities are always around and never fail to occur. In the following paragraphs, you will find an overview of the five CNC machining trends that we believe will strongly impact the market in 2020 and the years beyond.
Industrial Internet Of Things
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Many manufacturing facilities have already begun the process of total automation of the production process. The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is a digitalized automation process that can connect the factory floor and gather real-time data about the environment, efficiency, performance, and health of each process within the facility.
While CNC machines are already smart enough thanks to their CNC software, by adding a sensor and connecting it to the factory floor via the Internet, CNC machines will generate data on the status of the equipment, efficiency of the production process, productivity levels, and energy usage. All of this will directly impact the profitability of your company. Besides, using the IIoT collected data from the machines, you will know the exact production rates at any given second. The devices will automatically power down equipment when not used to save on energy costs, detect when parts are near their end of life, and understand the exact power requirements for fabricating particular components.
Skilled Personnel Will Become More Important Than Ever
As there is this considerable panic that automation and technology are taking away people's jobs from production sites, it's quite far from reality. There's no denying that machines have significantly reduced employment in the manufacturing operations. Still, there's substantial demand for tech-savvy personnel that can keep up with the latest trends in CNC machining and will streamline the manufacturing process.
Skilled and proactive manufacturing machinists and experts will become one of the most significant assets to any production business, and they will become a decisive factor for the company's growth in the next ten years. Besides owning the latest manufacturing technology, the companies will also need highly-skilled personnel to use them effectively, and that's never going to change.
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Manufacturing As A Service And Online Marketplaces
As the vast majority of the modern trends and tools are entirely focused on enhancing the workforce of facilities and reducing labor through supreme software and other tech-savvy solutions, there is another trend that is an unfluctuating challenge amongst business manufacturing companies - finding and securing work.
Due to particular mismatches with capabilities, capacity, and location, connecting buyers with machining suppliers and manufacturers is still a big challenge. These next few years might prove essential for Manufacturing as a Service (MaaS). MaaS online platforms are set to play a vital role in the process. These online marketplaces will benefit buyers with their large, elastic capacity that leverages the strengths of each CNC producer on its network. Such platforms are also proving beneficial to suppliers and complementing in-house services and extending shop capabilities without significant investment connecting them with potential buyers from the other half of the globe.
CAM Software Improvements
Computer-Aided Manufacturing (CAM) Software is a vital part of CNC machining, integrating Computer-Aided Design (CAD) models into a virtual system. CAM software finds the optimal setup and sequence for the machine to take in order and minimize the risk of error or sub-optimal parts. One of the latest features that CAM software has incorporated as a standard is collision detection. As the machines become more complex and introduced with more and more axis, the room for error and collision is more significant than ever. This is where CAM software kicks in. Someone who is newer to CNC machining and should yet develop the experience to anticipate such errors and collisions now can work worry-free by merely letting the software calculate the given operation for the machine instead.
Expect tons of software advancements and improvements in the next few years, as this is directly connected to how skilled personnel will become more critical than ever. Highly experienced CNC programmers and software developers will have a considerable amount of work in the next decade.
6-Axis CNC Machining
As well as technological advancements in software development, another focus for the new decade is physical progress in terms of axis themselves. After all, the more axis - the less production time, and the biggest CNC machining revolution of the 2020s might be the 6-axis machining approach. Multi-axis machining relates to a particular CNC machine's capacity to move in four or more directions to provide enhanced finishing to the raw material. This manufacturing method uses a milling procedure to remove excess raw material from the machine and create one final product.
At present, the modern CNC machines provide three to five-axis support. This means that the tool can process a product in three dimensions (x, y, and z) while 5-axis machines use a rotating spindle to work with an additional two axis. In the following period, we can expect to have CNC machines that are going to be designed to handle up 6-12 axes at once. This machinery type will prove ideal for high-accuracy production of huge machine parts like aerospace and automotive components that require the highest precision possible.