Computer numerical control (CNC) technology uses high-powered cutting tools and exacting automation controls to bring ideas into the real world. Whether you’re working with wood, metal, ceramic, or plastic, shaping raw materials to the most precise specifications calls for CNC mills and lathes. Despite being a largely automated process, CNC production is not immune to complications along the way. Here are some common causes of CNC production delays to be aware of as you begin the exhilarating and rewarding process of CNC manufacturing.
Lack of Maintenance
CNC machinery is a complex combination of power and precision. Your mill and lathe need to operate at peak performance to fulfill the expectations of both their automated instructions and their human operators. To ensure this, you must perform routine maintenance on all CNC operations. Failing to keep machinery clean and fully operational could lead to flaws in production, which means production delays and, even worse, cost overruns.
Problems With Outsourcing
You’ve surely heard the phrase “many hands make light work.” In other words, when more people are involved in a project, the workload for each person is smaller. This is true—to an extent. But when the hands in question are out of reach, the work may not get much lighter at all. Outsourcing has been a boon to many industries, but in working with outside vendors, you risk snarls in the process that lie out of your control. One of the most common causes of CNC production delays concerns third-party tooling. Though you may design your product, leaving it to other firms to do the work of CNC milling and lathing on your behalf could lead to dissatisfaction with the product or missed deadlines. By bringing your tooling operations in-house, you can expedite production and keep it under your auspices from conception to completion.
Burrs on the Product
These aren’t quite like the burrs you’d encounter on a nature trail. Burrs occur when cutting leaves behind rough, sharp material along the edges of a piece. This usually happens as a result of a workpiece’s high plasticity complicating the final phases of CNC cutting. Tiny shards of metal along a surface are incredibly dangerous to anyone who might handle your products, which means that you’ll have to deburr any metal before you send it out, either with manual tools or through advanced vibratory procedures. While necessary, deburring can slow your manufacturing process.