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CNC Machining Is The Foundation Of The Future

Various reports in the last year or two have indicated that the CNC machining industry is set up for significant growth. This industry can involve a number of different specific practices, but broadly speaking it concerns the use of automated equipment to cut, turn, and shape materials so as to form final products. And in late 2019, AP News cited market projections forecasting a near doubling of this industry in the span between 2018 and 2028, as a result of “increasing awareness about energy and heavy industry worldwide.”

Those reasons indicate a forward-looking approach that should continue to position CNC machining as the foundation of the future – at least where manufacturing processes are concerned. It would be one thing if the industry were merely growing as a result of some successful business and increase exposure. But the fact that growth is being driven by the awareness of a need to change how we handle mass production could spark a more lasting state of expansion.

More specifically, there are a number of factors at play that fit in with this forward-looking approach, and which should further cement CNC machining’s place in near-future manufacturing.

Electric Car Parts :
Last year here at Far East Gizmos we highlighted Nissan’s use of robots to make replacement parts for cars. It was a fun example of how advanced, “smart” machinery is changing the very core of automotive industries. And in a way, CNC machining is another example of the same concept, which is particularly exciting for electric vehicles.

We tend to think of EVs as ordinary cars that have simply been adjusted to operate without ordinary fuel. In many cases though, EV manufacturers are working with a wide range of new parts, from aluminum body components (keeping the cars light and strong) to small internal pieces, such as suitable casings for batteries. Additionally, these manufacturers tend to want to keep the process eco-friendly, rather than just the cars themselves. CNC machining addresses all of these needs, making construction more efficient (and thus more eco-friendly) and helping to quickly mass-produce new parts to exact specifications. It should thus be of tremendous use helping us into the near future of automobiles.

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Quick & Easy Prototypes :
Another aspect of the near future that CNC machining can help with is entrepreneurism, and specifically new product creation. While this sort of machining is most commonly discussed with regard to large industries (such as the electric vehicle market touched on above), one of the most valuable aspects of it is its ability to assist with prototype creation.

Describing commercial CNC machining services available to all, Fictiv reveals that quotes for projects can be obtained in minutes and parts designed and received in just three days’ time. That, when you think about it, makes for an amazing level of efficiency for, say, a startup seeking a prototype for a new design, or even individual experimenting with design. In this sense, the simple availability of such quick, on-demand CNC machining should help to further the existing wave of entrepreneurism we see in so many parts of the world today.

Outer Space Use :
Now for the really fun one: It’s also been speculated that CNC machining is soon going to be put to use in outer space. To be clear, the process is already part of various aspects of the creation and maintenance of space-bound vessels and their equipment. Here though, we’re referring to the idea of CNC machines actually being built onto spacecraft, loaded into space stations, or potentially even transported to extraterrestrial surfaces (namely, the Moon or Mars).

The idea is that with these machines on hand, astronauts would be able to fix and replace certain items, and even download and create designs relating to needs that arise during their voyages. It’s not a concrete concept just yet, but it is an exciting CNC machining application we could see in the next decade.

3D Printing Compatibility :
3D printing gets a lot more attention than CNC machining, and it’s easy to understand why. The former is simply a more futuristic concept, at least on the surface, whereas CNC machining can seem more like an upgrade to more traditional manufacturing methods. Regardless though, what’s worth pointing out here is that the two are compatible and will likely be linked in numerous interesting ways moving forward.

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We mentioned that CNC machines are often valued for their ability to create prototypes efficiently – and sometimes those prototypes actually serve as the basis for 3D printing projects. Basically, CNC machining can serve as a means of getting a design just right, and can then produce an item that is used to establish the exact measurements and other specifications for a mass production 3D printing effort. It’s a general idea, but it speaks to the fact that while we expect to see a lot of exciting 3D printing news in the coming years, CNC machining might be behind a number of them.

Fully Digital Supply Chains :
The effort to digitize supply chains gets a lot of attention these days. It can improve operational efficiency, reduce carbon footprints, and improve conditions and even safety for workers. Talking Logistics conveys in look at these efforts, much of the transition work comes down to automating communication between systems and devices. The idea is to get everything from warehouse machines to shipping vehicles, to sensors on products in sync, interacting, and producing data.

CNC machining and a few other manufacturing methods with similar relations to automation can take the digitization of supply chains even further. With these machines able to create products by themselves, they can be synced up with systems such that they respond to a business’s needs automatically, report on their own performance, and ensure the smoothest possible manufacturing process. That’s not something we’ll necessarily see or hear about as consumers, but if related businesses simply become more reliable in the coming years, this will likely be one reason why.