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CNC Machining Trends in 2022

CNC Machining Trends in 2022 no matter what our plans and strategies were for the last two years, the CNC manufacturing industry has been pushed into a new need for technology. An industry already strained with an employment gap had to react quickly to implement remote work or automated systems to stay open.

CNC machining followed a fairly steady path since the mid-1900s. Like so many other industries, the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) continues to bring new opportunities and the challenges that come with those, in record time. These last few years, attending trade shows to find partners and new products has been more difficult due to physical separation. Progress, however, always finds a way. Here are five CNC machining trends in 2022 building momentum.

 

Artificial Intelligence

Robots, sometimes referred to as Cobots, due to their ability to interact with people, have provided automation for tasks that are difficult or dangerous on the machine shop floor. The introduction of artificial intelligence has increased their use with vision sensors and feedback systems. Robots are almost as interactive as a human in some applications.

AI has also enabled predictive maintenance as well as adjustments during processing when sensors on milling machines, for example, can change speed or proximity to the cutting surface based on feedback provided. This has led to even more opportunities for lights out manufacturing, longer machine life, and improved speed and quality of production.

Moving even further into the arena of remote work, phone or email alerts are now available to address machine errors. The addition of a single camera can make the difference in whether production can continue during a staff crisis.

CNC Machining Trends in 2022

Multiple Axis Machining

The initial concept of a moving drill plus a moving bed created some innovative new approaches to machining when automation was first introduced as 3-axis machining. It became clear that with technology and advanced programming machines could be programmed to do so much more. 4- and 5-axis machines have been on the market for years, but only now are becoming affordable to make access available to the whole industry. 6-axis machines are advancing the capability of CNC machining even more.

Client demand for tighter tolerances and more intricate designs has propelled the advance of multiple-axis machines. Reports of up to 75% reduced production time make the added axes attractive. Many legacy 3-axis machines can also be converted. This makes upgrades more accessible.

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Software

CAD/CAM systems, also reduced in price over the years, are now more user-friendly. The recognized skill gap has produced intuitive programs that guide the programmer and alert potential errors.  Many programs employ universal language for connection to a variety of supporting software, and the prototype options allow designs to be reworked to perfection before they are released to the shop floor. The skill of the machinist has quickly moved into the hands of the programmer.

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Changing Workforce

Fewer machinists are required with the intuitive design of CNC machining software. That skill gap has been holding the industry back for decades. New software, robots, and artificial intelligence are helping bridge that gap as skilled machinists are retiring and new skilled labour is slower to replace them. With these innovations, new jobs are available now for programmers and machine maintenance technicians. Most jobs on the shop floor are operators. There will be some who advance to machinist skill level, but the necessity is less due to advances in machine technical support.

Waste Reduction

Although CNC machining has been at the forefront of creating innovative handling of waste, 2020 pushed us deep into supply chain problems and made many manufacturers think local rather than global. These local connections can establish firm partnerships in scrap recycling as well.

Other approaches include 3D prototypes produced digitally for client approval, rather than a tooled component, or even the use of 3D printing to build prototypes to utilize less material, and potentially less costly material.

Further recycling and waste reduction can be realized using centrifuge equipment to clean lubricants. This greatly reduces the amount of original lubricant needed by extending the life through a cleaning process. The added costs of these reclamation tools will soon begin to outweigh the cost of disposal with carbon taxes and environmentally safe disposal protocols.

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New Approaches

Manufacturers will continue to embrace technology and artificial intelligence to stay competitive and deal with the changing global dynamics in business. There are interesting new tooling approaches, like BoXYZ. It is still in its infancy but combines the advantages of laser engraving, CNC machining, and 3D printing in one machine. Consider the individual cost of these and you can see why a Kickstarter Campaign raised the money to get this concept off the ground.

Software and hardware continue to make great improvements. Reports suggest that over 30% of manufacturers utilize the Internet of Things (IIoT) with another 30% planning to install new technologies. And materials like carbide and diamond tips have dramatically improved accuracy and tool life. Trends are following investments in these solutions to meet demands in a quickly evolving industry. Talk to us at Rapid Enterprises to see how we are embracing the CNC machining trends in 2022 to provide the products you need.

Lean Manufacturing for CNC Machining

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