What is the Difference Between CNC Manufacturing? & Additive Manufacturing?
In today's world of manufacturing technology, you don't have to look further than additive manufacturing (AM) and CNC manufacturing (CNC) to find two examples of manufacturing's growth in technology. These technologies have become indispensable tools in modern industry and manufacturing. Additive manufacturing and CNC manufacturing are two popular production techniques that produce precise and functional metal parts fast and efficiently. Both are powerful and sophisticated manufacturing resources that bring any design concept to life.
But while they share some similarities, additive manufacturing and CNC manufacturing are very different processes that serve different needs. Here we'll explore additive manufacturing and CNC fabrication in more detail.
What is CNC Manufacturing?
CNC manufacturing (or computer numerical control manufacturing) uses automated machining tools via a computer to create parts. A specific design is programmed into the software, translating it to the machine making the part.
Advantages of CNC Manufacturing
Today's manufacturing world is about higher efficiency, speed and greater consideration for sustainability. While automation plays a key role in manufacturing, data-driven tools such as CNC drive innovation. Here are some of the advantages of CNC manufacturing:
Ease of operation
CNC machines are relatively easy to operate, making the manufacturing process much smoother. Once you've programmed the design into the machine, it works autonomously with high accuracy around the clock handling high volumes with ease.
As CNC manufacturing doesn't require much manual intervention, there's less risk of human error affecting the manufacturing process. Software programmes and codes govern the end-to-end process, enabling the machines to deliver greater accuracy without defects.
Fast and efficient
CNC machines can operate on their fastest settings and be left to run 24 hours a day, seven days a week, while maintaining a high degree of accuracy. This makes production fast, efficient and reliable.
Reduced energy consumption
CNC manufacturing enables businesses to remain precise and scalable without consuming more energy than necessary. It can also assist with reducing energy losses that may arise due to poor planning.
What is Additive Manufacturing?
Additive manufacturing is the technical name for 3D printing and creates new opportunities for complex component design across many markets. This computer-controlled process creates three-dimensional objects by depositing material in layers from either a computer-aided design program or by taking a 3D scan of an object and replicating it. The design is sliced into several layers that become the framework for the additive manufacturing machine to follow. With the design and framework created, they are sent to the machine for printing. Customers may choose additive manufacturing as it can handle most designs and offers relatively low production costs.
When to Choose CNC Manufacturing or Additive Manufacturing?
Whether you choose CNC manufacturing or additive manufacturing as your production method will largely depend on the material you are using, the type of part you wish to produce, and its intended use.
Accuracy and precision
If accuracy and consistency are crucial to your project, then CNC machining will provide a high level of accuracy with a fine, burr-free finish.
Additive manufacturing can produce low quantity runs quickly without tooling. Whereas, larger repeat quantities of finished parts may be better suited to CNC manufacturing.
3D printed parts produced using additive manufacturing are made in layers on curved steps that can look like steps. For a smooth surface finish, these need to be post-processed out. Meanwhile, CNC machining uses a minimum of three synchronised axes that deliver an accurate and smooth finish straight from the machine.
Discover Dudley Industries’ CNC Manufacturing
With over 80 years of industry experience, Dudley Industries can support you with all your CNC manufacturing needs. Our CNC metal cutting and tool facilities deliver quality contract manufacturing for any product or sheet metal project. We use the latest CNC manufacturing technology to deliver a superior cutting performance for most metals and alloys, including stainless steel, brass, copper and aluminium. Our custom products and solutions, including our high-precision, digital contract manufacturing equipment, are all designed and produced in-house. To learn more about our sheet metal design, cutting, metal tooling, forming and welding services, call us on 01253 738311 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.