Here at Manufacturing Nebraska, we spend a lot of time stressing the fact that the manufacturing of today just isn’t what it used to be. Today, it’s much more technical and precise than ever before.
One element of manufacturing that’s had an enormous impact on the way factories work is technology. Modern technology is completely changing the face of manufacturing–creating what’s called advanced manufacturing.
Of all the new technology out there, few pieces of equipment have had a more long-standing impact than CNC machines. CNC machines operate with unparalleled precision, and require more skills than old-time factory techniques–part of the reason that manufacturers now need many more skilled workers than ever before.
But what exactly does a CNC machine do?
Let’s first check out the video below for a brief demo:
CNC stands for “Computer Numerical Control.”
At its heart, CNC means using computers to control machine tools–like lathes, mills, routers, and grinders (and more). Unlike manual machining, which requires human input throughout the whole process, CNC machining requires more planning on the front end.
Everything in a CNC machine is programmed before the material is even cut. A programmer/manufacturer inputs a CAD drawing into the machine, and then the operator can make adjustments in speed or coordination. It’s an extremely precise process, and can create parts not even thought possible with manual machining.
CNC machining is so revolutionary because of the precision we mentioned. They’re amazing machines, and can be found in almost every factory around today.
But with that precision and automation comes a new challenge–and no, it’s not taking jobs–which is the fact that CNC machinists require more technical skills than manual machinists of days past. People interested in CNC machining would be wise to get skilled in things like math, computer usage, industrial art, and mechanical drafting, as having the skills necessary for inputting designs is absolutely essential.
Understanding new manufacturing technology is key to understanding both advanced manufacturing, and the skills needed to work in the industry. Technology like this is shaping the world we live in, so it’s best that we embrace it before it’s too late!
We already featured the video below in a different blog post, but if you’re interested in learning more about what a CNC machinist does on a day-to-day basis, this video is a great resource: