As you might expect, computers are the brains every state-of-the-art automated machine tool. Some companies choose to run the controlling software on run-of-the-mill personal computers (PCs) but more forward looking ones turn to the best product for the job, computer numerical controls (CNCs). The latter offers some significant advantages over standard computers. Here are just three of the most important to recognize.
With the ability to control the motion of the cutting mechanism along three axes simultaneously, CNCs offer far more cutting options than a standard PC. In addition, they accomplish these cuts with less hassle and in a more expeditious manner than those controlled by a simple PC. CNCs run on a specialized language known as G-code. It is designed to facilitate the entire cutting process but also to allow far more complicated designs. In other words, there are simply some shapes that you cannot accomplish with a PC where a CNC will encounter no difficulties.
Unlike the average home PC, CNCs are designed and built to last in an industrial environment. They are sealed to prevent dust and other debris from contaminating their insides. Their exterior cabinetry is intended to absorb all sorts of physical abuse. They have more robust heat sinks and fans to protect the machine against overheating. In short, they are manufactured to work 24 hours a day, seven days a week even under the most arduous conditions. To put it plainly, CNCs are the electronic workhorse of a manufacturing facility.
Easy to Operate
PCs are designed to run a variety of programs but can be somewhat fickle when asked to run software outside their original parameters. CNCs, on the other hand, are specifically manufactured to run G-code. This fact means that it takes very little training to get an operator up-to-speed on the intricacies of running the machine. Trouble shooting is also easier as there are a very limited number of things that can go wrong with the software. This is noticeably different from the software provided by Microsoft.
Easy to Upgrade
CNCs are almost exclusively modular in design. In other words, they are designed to be fixable in a cost-efficient and affordable manner. Conversely, most PCs cost more to fix than to replace. The same is true if you want to upgrade a CNC in terms of their electronics. Without a doubt, it is far easier to upgrade a component in a CNC than in any PC as the latter is designed to be replaced and not improved. To put it mildly, a damaged CNC can continue to deliver even when it is hit with a shocking blow.
Perhaps most importantly of all, a CNC can be programmed work in a variety of environments. For example, a CNC that controls a lathe or drill may only need to operate in two dimensions. It is therefore very quick while still maintaining the most precise of tolerances. CNCs that control three-axis machines like milling machines operate a little bit slower but offer more finishing options than a 2-D machine. For the most complicated jobs, the newest CNCs can actually be programmed in up to 6 axes which is well beyond the ability of any off-the-shelf PC. CNCs truly are the shape shifters of the industrial control world.
CNCs are designed and manufactured to run efficiently for long periods of time. If your company has a large backlog of business, you can run one 24 hours a day, with only short periods for maintenance necessary, without worrying that your CNC will fail. In addition, due to their durability and versatility, CNCs can be repurposed if you decide to eliminate a particular manufacturing process at some point in the future. CNCs are always ready to make a lateral move if it helps the team.
In addition to the above benefits, computerized numerical controls are being improved every year to specifically deal with new and more complicated manufacturing processes. Something that PCs cannot claim. Any manufacturer should consider upgrading to one if they have the volume and the complexity of work to warrant it.For more detailed information on how we can meet the needs of your business in the United States, please contact us at Swanton Welding Company Inc. You can visit us online at SwantonWeld.com or reach us directly at 419.826.4816.