CNC machining is a modern manufacturing mainstay. The process, which traces its roots back to the first numerical control machines of the 1940s, has only risen in popularity since its inception, and over the coming years, there are a number of new developments on the horizon. Today, we’re going to take a look at some of those new trends, technologies, and innovations that will be shaping the CNC machining industry for the foreseeable future.

Cost Savings Through Mechanical Enhancements

There are a number of improvements coming to CNC machining that could help control costs. Take, for example, the increasing number of axes included on modern CNC machines. 

In the past, 3-axis machines were the standard, which allowed  the bed to move linearly along two axes while the spindle translates up and down along the third axis. 

Now, with the introduction of 5 and 6-axis machines, whole new levels of maneuverability are possible, which means that the components produced by CNC machines can be even more intricate and precise. And it’s not just the complexity that’s improved—having more axes helps to reduce the production times on jobs, which, in turn, can help cut down on costs. 

More Robotics Means More Versatility

The use of robots isn’t exactly new to CNC machining. Recent innovations, however, are going to transform the nature of the industry and help improve efficiency. A prime example is a creation known as “collaborative robots,” or “cobots.” These robots are designed to work with human operators and augment their productivity. 

Cobots can be programmed and trained, and from there will aid their human coworkers and help improve the versatility of the organization employing them.

Better Training Will Create A Better Industry

As tools and technology change, so too must the skills of workers throughout the industry. Manufacturers realize this, and are increasingly investing in solutions that can better train employees to do their jobs. Software integration in CNC machining equipment, for instance, can help to guide operators through various processes until they become second nature. 

These better-trained workers will commit fewer errors and work at quicker rates, so even if the startup costs of improved training are substantial, the long-term savings of both time and money for the manufacturer make the investment well worth it.

The Rise Of Manufacturing As A Service

Manufacturing as a service (MaaS) makes use of the outsourcing of specific tasks and responsibilities to another party, which, implemented properly, can generate a whole host of positive effects. Companies utilising MaaS are more agile, more productive, and are able to drive down costs through a reduction in labor expenses. 

With so many associated benefits, it’s likely that we’ll see an increase in the number of companies making use of MaaS. Especially in the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic, where organizations are looking to expand their networks, mitigate supply chain breakdowns, and find solutions for precision manufacturing. Fictiv is a digital manufacturing ecosystem that rapidly delivers custom parts on-demand, to help companies accelerate new product introduction.

Continued Expansion Of The Industrial Internet Of Things

Manufacturers have been able to use the Industrial Internet Of Things (IIoT) to network some of their machines, send/receive data, and remotely monitor/manage operations. This ability for machines to communicate without a human operator can help make manufacturing processes safer and faster, while simultaneously improving quality.

There will likely be a greater adoption of these systems in the coming years, combined with the integration of process automation and other methods to improve efficiency and cut waste.