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Make the Right Decision: 7 Steps to Choosing the Right CNC Machine

by Olufisayo
CNC Machine

A major challenge with CNC machine tools is selecting the right machine for specific engineering or manufacturing needs. With such a wide range of options to choose from, how do you settle on just one CNC machine tool for your project?

The following is a seven-step checklist to make the selection process a little easier;

Consider your current machine setup

What kinds of machines do you currently use in your company? If you already use a few CNC machine tools, evaluate if they’re still appropriate. Do they operate optimally? Are there existing gaps? How much longer will they be in use? What’s the cost of replacing the old machines with new high-performing ones?

Consider the operator experience

If you already use CNC machines in your company, your workers might be accustomed to using the machines which means they may not need a lot of training when you bring in new machines. Just keep in mind that more highly automated smart machines need special training even if the workforce might be relevant to CNC machine functioning.

Keep in mind part difficulty and complexity

Depending on the precision you’re looking for, it may be a better idea to choose more advanced CNC machine tools. In the aerospace, defense, and medical industries, for example, it might be better to go with advanced CNC machines with multiple spindles capable of maneuvering, cutting, boring, and shaping highly precise parts.

What specific materials are you looking to a machine?

The category of materials you’re looking to machine also plays a huge role in selecting the right CNC machine tools. While CNC machine tools work on a variety of materials, including copper, titanium, aluminum, mould steel, and hardened steel, each CNC machine is best suited to a particular material or group of materials.

Linear Motion (LM) Guide Ways or Box Guide Ways?

Next up, consider whether you want a linear motion guideway or box motion guideways operation. CNC machine tools that use Linear Motion guideways tend to be faster, but are only effective for low-duty operations. Machines with box guard ways are more rigid, experience less vibration, and are more suited to heavier, larger cuts than their counterparts.

Types of Control: What do you need?

When choosing CNC controls, you need to consider the level of automation, number of axes to be controlled, and manual interventions required during the production process. Additionally, we recommend considering the following key factors; reliability and effectiveness of the controls, software stability, and user-friendliness.

Cost per part: how much will you spend to produce each part?

You want to choose the CNC machine with the least cost-per-part, without compromising quality and other important factors. To determine the cost-per-part value of each machine, consider your fixed costs (initial capital, depreciation costs, and loan interest) and variable costs (material cost, spare parts costs, manpower costs, tooling costs, and maintenance and servicing costs).

If you can keep all these seven points in mind during the selection process, rest assured of coming away with the right CNC machine and CNC Machining Service for your project.

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