29th March 2019 Blog

CNC machines are electro-mechanical devices that manipulate machine shop tools using computer programming inputs. Alpha Manufacturing machine parts efficiently, effectively and to the highest standard, using the latest CNC machine technology. Depending on the requirements of the end product, there is a range of CNC processes used in the machining of metal parts which are used either on their own or simultaneously as part of the overall manufacturing process. Below, we’ve explored some of the more common CNC processes and services available.

What is CNC precision machining and how does it work?

The CNC machining process uses a solid block of material such as brass, copper or steel. Using numerically controlled tools, it accurately and precisely delivers parts to a very high standard.  Lathes, mills, routers, and grinders are tools typically found in CNC machinery. The digital template and autonomous machining practically eliminate human error and achieve accuracy within 1/1000th.

The CNC machine is programmed by the operator based on the specifications laid out in the CAD drawings. The programming process generates code which controls the machine to produce the desired finished product. A test run is completed to ensure that there are no errors in the programming. This trial run, called ‘cutting air’ is integral to the machining of top quality finished parts and largely eliminates material wastage and unnecessary downtime. This program can then be used repetitively to create multiple uniform products, all CNC outputs matching the prototype’s exact specifications.

Using CNC machinery is also considerably quicker than conventional machining, providing a cost-effective service with a quick turn-around.

Alpha Manufacturing machines ultra-complex profiles with unbeatable accuracy using the Mazak VTC-300 CII. This highly versatile, state of the art 3 axis machining centre has a 2000mm table cross dimension. It features a powerful 40 taper spindle and full travelling column design.

 

CNC sheet metal punching

CNC punching is used for punching part number stamps, rib forming, special forms, countersinks and many other products. The process is carried out by punch presses, either single head and tool rail (known as Trumpf design) or multi-tool current design.

A sheet of material is programmed to move in the correct directions to accurately position the sheet under the punching ram, ready to punch a hole or form. The shape of the hole that is punched can be as simple as a circle or rectangle, right through to special shapes to suit a specific cut out design.

 

CNC turning services

CNC turning is considered the best process to make cylindrical parts, to a high level of accuracy and precision. The turning process reduces the diameter of the original workpiece to a specified dimension, the rotation is performed using a lathe and produces a smooth part finish.

There are four different types of turning; straight turning, taper turning, profiling and external grooving. CNC turning can be performed on the outside of a workpiece and on the inside (known as boring) to produce tubular components.

 

CNC sheet metal folding

Metal folding is used to give a finished metal product its shape by way of bending or folding the metal. It can be used to fold small intricacies to as little as millimetres across. One of the main benefits of CNC sheet metal folding machines is their versatility, processing large sheets whilst being able to fold a range of complex shapes and designs.

 

What does CNC stand for?

The abbreviation ‘CNC’ stands for computer numerical control. It is the name given to the process of converting a design made by computer-aided design software (CAD) into numbers, using a computer. These numbers control the movement of the specific tool being used for the CNC process selected.

Alpha Manufacturing uses the latest CNC machining technology to produce high-quality parts at unparalleled process speeds when punching, turning, folding and machining.