Future of CNC Machines Computer Numerical Control Research Paper

Excerpt from Research Paper :

Future of CNC Machines (Computer Numerical Control)


Size of CNC Machines in the Future

Price of CNC Machines in the Future

Use of CNC Machines in the Future

Precision of CNC Machines in the Future

Use of Nanotechnology in Improving CNC Machining

Economy of CNC Machines in the Future

Maintenance of CNC Machines in the Future

Skills Level of CNC Machine Operators in the Future

Future of CNC Machines (Computer Numerical Control)

Size of CNC Machines in the Future

It appears likely that CNC machines will be smaller and more compact in the future, as evidence in a report entitled "Modular Desktop CNC Machine." Reported is a new prototype, which is "26" by 20" with a useable cutting area of 18" x 12." It is designed using only the best linear motion components and is made to be as robust as possible." (Kickstarter, 2012) The design of the frame is such that it can be easily disassembled and reassembled in only a matter of minutes and by using simple hand tools. The report states that the Z-Axis (the one that moves up and down) has a modular bolt pattern that can accept a wide variety of cutting tools ranging from a Dremel to routers, even lasers and plastic extruders." (Kickstarter, 2012) However, it is reported that this machine is not cheap in fact the machine is reported to use "…hundreds of dollars worth of shafts, bushings, bearings and professional lead screws to get it moving! In fact, 80% of the machines' cost is in these expensive linear motion components." (Kickstarter, 2012)

II. Price of CNC Machines in the Future

Despite the price stated on the modular desktop CNC machine prototype, others believe the prices of CNC machines will go down in the future. The work of Anderberg and Kara (nd) addressees the energy and cost efficiency in CNC machining and reports that the general cost for CNC machining and the "associated energy cost are set in the context of making economic and environmental improvements." This is reported by Anderberg and Kara to increase the incentives for companies in manufacturing to conduct investigation of the manufacturing processes energy efficiency. (nd, paraphrased) Findings in the study show that it is possible to realize significant savings in costs "if the production output is increased as a consequence form higher material removal rates due to optimized machining parameters." (Anderberg and Kara, nd) The methodology used in the study was the traditional machine cost model in calculating the cost of machining operations and includes the cost components as follows: (1) machine tool nd labor cost; (2) set-up cost; (3) Idle cost; (4) direct tool cost; and (5) indirect tool cost - tool change cost. (Anderberg and Kara, nd)

III. Use of CNC Machines in the Future

A recent report published by the CNC Machining Companies website states that the future of a career in precision CNC machining is "bright [as] there are so many applications of CNC machining in the world today. From electronics to the arts, such precision is demanded from the professional." (CNC Machining Companies, 2009) The examples stated include "the wiring on the chips, the pins on the ports, the lights for the DVD ROM, the wires that connect the earpiece to the other parts" of a mobile phone requires CNC machining as well as does "telecommunications and computer equipment…detailed engraving…high end stereos and the high end television sets…" as well as watches and other everyday items. (CNC Machining Companies, 2009)

IV. Precision of CNC Machines in the Future

CNC Machining will be more precise in the future and this is due to new developments in software programs that run the CNC machine. It is reported specifically that the new CMM and software "have made an immediate difference…" (Modern Machine Shop, 2012) The new capabilities allow inspection of the large ring-shaped part that initiated the move to upgraded inspection equipment. It is reported that other features can be measured "in turn for a complete inspection. To create a program to inspect additional parts under computer control, the software replays the same steps, moving the probe in up to five axes. Running inspection programs in the direct computer controlled (DCC) mode is considerably faster than manual inspection. Experience at Wonder Machine has shown it to be up to 80% faster." (Modern Machine Shop, 2012) The results are displayed "graphically on the color computer screen" and it is possible to print paper copies. The report states that visualization is a valuable aspect of the programs. It is reported that in the future the capacity of the "CMM to read CAD files and be programmed directly from CAD-file data will give Wonder Machine a competitive edge." (Modern Machine Shop, 2012) The example stated is that it is possible to use Virtual DMIS at another PC for generation of programs for work pieces. It is reported that the software is representative of a "true virtual machine - the machine, probe head, stylus, and any other additional hardware is realistically modeled and shown to the user. The 3D representation of the work piece can be displayed on the table of the virtual CMM and the simulated probe can be manipulated in the teach mode to create an inspection routine. Programs generated off-line can be sent to the CMM's host computer for later use. In this way, inspection programs and procedures can be written before the parts are machined. When the part is ultimately set up on a CNC machine, there will be little downtime waiting for first piece inspection because the CMM program is ready to go. The CNC operator will get a printout showing what features need adjustment and how much adjustment is necessary." (Modern Machine Shop, 2012)

It was reported on September 13th 2010 that Siemens Industry Inc. announced that the "new Sinumerik MDynamics technology package for milling applications is such that "combines CNC hardware, intelligent CNC functions and the complete CAD/CAM/CNC process chain for industries with very high requirements regarding surface quality, precision and machining speeds." (Siemens, 2010) It is stated in the announcement that the three-axis technology package for the Sinumerik 840D sl is inclusive of new and improved form of motion control in addition to set-up functions that are innovative in nature and a new program management system for tooling. New programming functions now exist for work piece programming and ShopMill machining step programming. Supporting programming are innovative technology cycles, measuring cycles, residual material detection and 3D simulation in addition to the integration of efficient high-speed cutting (HSC) functions, new HMI functions, easy data and program handling is accomplished with added Compact Flash (CF) card memory, spline interpolation and work piece simulation for multi-face machining

V. Use of Nanotechnology in Improving CNC Machining

A report published at the Automation website states that industrial automation "can and will generate explosive growth with technology related to new inflection points: nanotechnology and nanoscale assembly systems; MEMS and nanotech sensors (tiny, low-power, low-cost sensors) which can measure everything and anything; and the pervasive Internet, machine to machine (M2M) networking." (Automation.com, 2012) Today's "real-time systems" are such that will be replaced by "complex adaptive systems and multi-processing. The future belongs to nanotech, wireless everything, and complex adaptive systems." (Automation.com, 2012) The new software applications are predicted to be in "wireless sensors and distributed peer-to-peer networks -- tiny operating systems in wireless sensor nodes, and the software that allows nodes to communicate with each other as a larger complex adaptive system." (Automation.com, 2012)

VI. Economy of CNC Machines in the Future

In an another report it is stated that the CNC machine "will be the future way to go green." (Machinery China, 2011) The report states that a new CNC machine has been introduced by many manufacturers of CNC machines and that the latest developments in CNC machinery is automation technology which makes the products "modular, open, flexible and with a unified structure" which makes provision of a visual interface and network integration capabilities in addition to multi-channel multi-axis CNC for all processes. Additional improvements include the "latest chip technology and other high-end high-speed processor, hardware and fiber optic transmission technology" all of which has improved CNC machine performance. (Machinery China, 2011) Due to the development of "new techniques to improve methods of waste recycling" the new CNC machines are contributing to protection of the environment and meeting energy requirements and targets and ultimately will serve to reduce the environment impact to a minimum." (Machinery China, 2011)

VII. Maintenance of CNC Machines in the Future

The work of Paul Smid addresses equipment maintenance of CNC machines and states that the CNC machine operator should only conduct the very basic of maintenance and leave the rest to a qualified technician. It is unknown to this writer how the maintenance of CNC machines in the future will be performed as that specific information was not readily available and even upon a great deal of research found to be elusive information.

VIII. Skills Level of CNC Machine Operators in the…

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