Trends in Precision Machining
Precision machining incorporates one or a combination of turning, milling, drilling, gear cutting, honing, grinding, and other processes to remove materials from the workpiece and produce accurate components that have excellent surface quality and high tolerances.
Before the pandemic, the precision machining industry was predicted to achieve steady growth through 2031. This forecast demand was based on increased needs for automotive parts, manufacturing equipment, medical components, and rapid industrialization. Although precision machining was affected by the pandemic, because of the decrease in manufacturing production and supply chain disruptions, it is once again expected to return to previous levels and continue its growth patterns. Several factors will affect the future of precision machining; this article looks at those trends.
Trends That Will Positively Affect the Future of Precision Machining
- 5-axis CNC machining: The reduced cycle time, increased work efficiency, and decreased material wastage benefits of 5-axis CNC machining will be a major factor in increasing flexibility and precision. In the future, more shops will even begin to integrate 6-axis CNC machinery for components which demand the highest possible degree of precision.
- Combining CNC Machining with 3D Printing: Although these are different because 3D printing is additive, while machining is subtractive, machining shops are beginning to adopt hybrid manufacturing capabilities. These combine CNC turning and milling with direct metal-laser sintering or similar additive process. According to American Machinist, the number of operations looking at how to combine CNC machines and 3D printers to finish projects is rising.
- The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT): Emerging technology in CNC machining will embed sensors that allow for real-time monitoring of operating conditions. The monitors will automatically send tuning alerts or maintenance notifications to operators. Currently in progress are processes to expand machine-to-machine synchronization, further reducing manual efforts and improving worker safety.
- Cloud-Based Operations: Increased adoption of robotics, artificial intelligence, and human/machine interaction capabilities will lead to a rise in real-time connectivity requirements. More smart factories will rely on cloud-based operations to increase machine-to-machine communication, and foster improved capabilities.
- Multifunctional CNC Machines: Machining shops are beginning to utilize automatic tool changers which enable milling, drilling, boring, turning, tapping, reaming, and other processes at the same time, on the same machine. The machines also use multi-face cutting and multi-spindle capabilities.
- Continued demand for sustainable solutions: Demand is increasing in the U.S. and world-wide for more use of renewable resources and environmentally-based solutions for manufacturing needs. CNC machining processes will need to find ways to efficiently monitor, measure and reduce their carbon emissions. More data will be required to search for ways to reduce carbon footprints throughout all phases of the production and transportation process.
- Rapid Prototype for Precision Machining: Creating a rapid prototype can help design engineers quickly gather feedback on the viability of a potential part, by creating a physical representation based on their initial specifications. Revisions and corrections can be made before the final production process begins.
- Manufacturing-as-a-Service (MaaS): Manufacturing will be advanced through the use of networked resources so that the cost of operating and maintaining the machining equipment can be spread across users who need the service.
Learn More About Advanced Trends in Precision Machining
With our on-trend usage of advanced precision machining techniques, and an ability to offer one-stop solutions, Impro is ranked among the largest precision machining company globally. Catering to sectors ranging from the automotive, aerospace, hydraulic, medical, and oil and gas industries, Impro provides a wide array of precision CNC machining solutions to our customers. If you are interested in finding more information about adapting today’s trends in precision machining to your projects, please contact our team of experts today.