In the early 1970's, computer numerical control (CNC) was introduced to woodworking. Since that time, its impact on how companies mill wood has been profound. Unlike a standard milling machine, a computer operates a CNC milling machine - an arrangement that alters the woodworking process in the following ways, among others:
Changes the Role of the Machinist
In years past, a machinist needed as much physical mastery over a machine as he did technical mastery. To be an expert, a machinist had to operate a machine for years - a requirement that CNC technology eliminates by placing machinists in the role of technical operators and process monitors. Today, a milling machinist can benefit as much from computer training as from training on the work floor, for a computer now handles what was once "hands on."
Reduces the Need for Machinists
Because computers control them, CNC machines eliminate the need for a machinist to be present at each equipment station at all times. Although computer controlled machinery is the future of woodworking, its work process prevents it from producing exponential job growth in the CNC field. For companies that need to reduce payroll, this will continue to be a benefit.
Reduces Human Error
Manually operating milling machinery increases the chance of human error. Over time, this error can result in a large amount of waste pieces - a phenomenon that slows production and increases operating cost. Computer controlled machinery can produce thousands of identical pieces without committing a single error. For large operations, this could result in thousands of dollars saved each year.
The production rate of an industrial CNC mill machine can dramatically expedite the milling process. Especially valuable for custom cabinet and furniture making, CNC milling is ideal for executing standard or unique millwork to meet high demand. For furniture makers that roll out new product lines seasonally, computer controlled milling is indispensable.
Choosing the Best Equipment
Depending on a company's production needs, buying a CNC miller could require a significant investment, one that leads many companies to consider buying a pre-owned model. When properly maintained, industrial woodworking machinery can retain its reliability and performance quality for decades. Therefore, inspecting a machine's logged service record prior to purchase is crucial. Buyers should also check the seller's reputation at the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and inspect the machinery firsthand before they buy it.
Whether a miller is purchased new or used, the buyer should consult the seller on what model best meets its present and evolving production needs, particularly concerning the number of axes (2-5) a machine cuts on, its production capacity, and the length of training required to use it expertly.
CNC milling machines help woodworking companies realize their commercial goals without sacrificing the intricacy and accuracy of quality millwork. And buying a used CNC machine can help them preserve their equipment budget. For more information on how to select computer controlled machinery for woodworking, contact a seller of new and used industrial woodworking machinery.