CNC turning and milling have become an integral part of many spare part manufacturing processes. While manual manufacturing is still employed, the benefits of automation can no longer be ignored.
What Is CNC Milling & Turning?
Before listing the benefits, let’s define these two processes. CNC (Computer Numerical Control) milling and turning involve the use of computers to control the machines during part manufacturing.
A CNC specialist programs the computer by entering the necessary parameters. The software application then directs the CNC turning and milling machine to produce the required item.
The difference between CNC milling and turning is simple:
- CNC milling – uses a milling cutter to remove the material from the part’s surface. The part stays stationary while the tools move around it. The machine can be controlled by the computer or overridden for manual adjustments.
- CNC turning – The control process is similar to milling. However, the material moves at different speeds while the tool creates cylindrical cuts with exact measurements.
One CNC machine, or lathe, can perform both milling and turning. These methods are used to manufacture parts for many different industries.
Benefits Of CNC Turning & CNC Milling
Even though CNC machines are more expensive than their manual counterparts, they have three overwhelming advantages.
1) High Precision & Uniformity
CNC machining offers the highest manufacturing precision regardless of the project. Delegating the work to a computer keeps the chance of error to a minimum.
Meanwhile, CNC milling and turning can manufacture hundreds of identical parts down to 0.01 mm and even less. This is a huge advantage for volume projects.
2) Impressive Speed
CNC milling and turning can provide parts at an impressive speed. It takes under an hour to set up the machine to produce a certain part and about 2 minutes to manufacture it. Meanwhile, manual machining can take 10 times longer.
If you need hundreds of identical parts manufactured at a high speed, opting for CNC milling and turning is the only reasonable option.
If you only need a few pieces - e.g. for prototyping – manual machining is still cost-effective since it takes longer to program the parameters into a CNC lathe than to produce the part manually.
3) Large Quantities
When it comes to large volumes, CNC machining beats manual on all fronts. A CNC machine can produce 30 or more parts in under an hour while, in the best case, manual machining can achieve about three.
At Woodley Engineering, we offer both CNC and manual machining services for your projects. Depending on your requirements, we help you choose the best option. For more information, please download our free Woodley Engineering Precision Engineering Guide.