The full form of CNC is Computer Numeric Control. CNC machines are used in variety of industries in small-scale as well large-scale sectors, in different forms including drilling, sanding and cutting. There are different CNC machines each with different applications to suit the industry. In aviation industry, it is used for building parts for aircraft, in textile industry it is used for making embroidery machines etc.
The following points should be considered before buying any CNC machines.
• Requirement: CNC machines are available in different features and sizes and priced accordingly. Hence, it is important to assess your requirement. If you are a larger company and require larger production, select feature rich CNC machines, but if you own a small company and have limited jobs, select the basic model of CNC machine.
• Understand the parts: Before buying any CNC machine, you need to know the parts of the machine. Each part is important to make the machine working. There is huge market for CNC Machining in China, wherein you get the best technology and genuine parts at the best prices.
o Control Panel: The control panel is the brain of the CNC machines. It processes the G-codes (commands) entered by the operator and thereby the machine perform cuts as per code entered.
o Coolant Supply tube: The coolant supply tube is required to cool the machine and the metal being cut. While cutting or drilling, both the machine and metal becomes hot due to friction. Hence, the coolant is very important to keep the machine going. You need to verify there are no leakages in the tube before operating the machine.
o Table: The table is the space, on which the object is attached for cutting, drilling. The object can be metal, plastic or wood.
o Axis: The CNC machine consists of 1 to 6 axis. There are full forth axis rotary table, which should not be bought unless required. This is because it requires precise alignment, and if the alignment is mismatched, you will require trained service engineer, which may cost more. Secondly, the alignment does not cover under warranty.
o Column: Column holds the milling table and runs with the axis.
o Cutting Tool: The cutting tool is attached with the column and does the actual work of cutting.
• Testing & Calibration: Before buying any CNC machine, check its serial number and manufacturing date. In general, the earlier serial number or the first lot are kept for testing and might have software bugs. Always ask for testing & calibration certificates. You may also put the terms of yearly testing & calibration of equipment. After release of new models, there are always bugs or updates required, hence ask for free updates and patches, if required in future.
• Other Points:
o Consider machines with reasonable horsepower.
o The cycle time of the machines, if the operator is running multiple machines
o Seamless integration of the CNC machines with other automation system.
o Easy availability of the replacement parts or backup machine in case if the replacement takes time.
o Uptime of the machines in case of any breakdown
The CNC machines are your assets, hence utmost care has to be taken before buying the same. You can even search the net for the best options and ask for demo of the machines.