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The development of CNC (Computer Numerical Control) machine tools, i.e., fast, precise, complex, intelligent, open, parallel, networked, and extreme machines, has become a trend and direction of their development. How will these trends develop in 2023? In which direction will the machining go? Will new technological innovation improve CNC services? What are growth trends? We write about it below!

Higher speed in CNC machining

With the rapid development of industries such as automotive, national defense, aviation and aerospace, as well as the use of new materials such as aluminum alloys, the requirements for CNC machining are becoming higher. CNC machines provide in these cases: 

  • Spindle speed: the machine adopts an electric spindle (built-in spindle motor), and the maximum spindle speed is 200000rpm.min.
  • Feed speed: the resolution is 0.01 µm, and the machine can achieve a maximum feed speed of 240 m / min from complex and precisely machined surfaces.
  • Speed of calculation: the dynamic development of microprocessors guarantees fast and precise progress of numerical control systems. As a result, processors evolve into 32-bit and 64-bit numerical control systems, and the frequency increases to hundreds of megahertz and gigahertz. Thanks to the calculations, the speed has improved significantly, and feed speeds of up to 24-240 m/min can still be achieved with a resolution of 0.1 µm and 0.01 µm.
  • Tool change speed: currently, the advanced foreign tool change time is generally about 1s, and the maximum can reach 0.5 s. 

Better precision in CNC machining

The accuracy requirements of CNC machine tools are not limited to static geometric accuracy: more and more attention is paid to the accuracy of machine tool movement, thermal deformation, monitoring, and vibration compensation. New challenges in the coming year may make you have to implement more elements from a milling point of view:

  • Improve CNC machining accuracy: use high-speed interpolation technology to realize the continuous feeding of small program segments to improve the CNC control unit, and use high-resolution position detection equipment to improve the position detection accuracy.
  • Adopting error compensation technology: slack compensation, pitch error, tool error, and other technologies are used to compensate for thermal deformation and hardware space errors. The test results show that comprehensive error compensation technology can reduce processing error from 60% to 80%.
  •  Predict machine tool machining accuracy with simulation to ensure positioning accuracy and repeatability. The grid is used to check and correct the accuracy of the trajectory of the machining center. It makes its performance stable for a long time and can perform different processing tasks under other working conditions to ensure the quality of the processed parts.

Composite machining 

Complex machine tool refers to the realization or manufacture of various components processing semi-finished products into a finished product as much as possible. Of its structural features, process compounds can be distinguished. This is the machining of complex machine tools, and these include complex boring, milling, drilling-machining center, lathe Center, lathe-milling, milling, boring, drilling, hybrid car machining center, etc.; complex machine tools, such as multi-surface, multi-axis joint Machining, Complex machine tools and two-spindle Turning Centers. Machining on hybrid machines reduces the time needed to load and unload parts, change instruments and adjust additional tools.

Adequate supervision 

To meet the development needs of flexibility and automation of production, the quality of CNC machine tools is constantly improved. This can be seen in the following aspects:

  • Adaptive process control technology: by monitoring during processing information such as cutting force, spindle and feed motor power, current, and voltage, traditional or modern recognition algorithms are used to identify the stresses, wear and crack condition of the tool and the state of the machine tool in terms of whether it is stable during machining. According to these states, the machining parameters (spindle speed, feed speed) and machining instructions are adjusted in real-time so that the equipment can improve the machining accuracy, reduce the surface roughness and improve the processing accuracy. In addition, the equipment is safer to use.
  • Intelligent self-diagnosis and self-repair technology: based on existing fault information, modern intelligent measures are used to quickly and accurately locate faults.
  • Intelligent error reproduction and error simulation technology: it can completely record various system information, reproduce and simulate various errors and accidents occurring in CNC machine tools, determine the cause of errors, find solutions to problems, and accumulate production experience.
  • AC intelligent servo drive: it can automatically identify the load and adjust the parameters of the intelligent system, including AC intelligent spindle drive and intelligent servo drive. This kind of drive device can automatically identify the moment of inertia of the motor and load, and automatically optimize and adjust the parameters of the control system, so that the drive system can get the best performance.
  • Intelligent 4m CNC system: in the production, processing, and testing process, it integrates practically to realize rapid production, testing, reaction, measurement, modeling, and processing. Four operations are integrated into the 4M system to exchange information and facilitate the integration of measurement, modeling, processing, mounting, and operation.

Hybridization of CNC production with additive technologies

Subtractive CNC machining and additive 3D printing are two separate processes. The CNC machine removes the material from the workpiece. 3D printing involves building three-dimensional objects one layer at a time. Even if the rules of operation are reversed, both processes can be effectively combined. Many machine builders have adopted „hybrid manufacturing,” combining CNC milling and turning with incremental manufacturing methods. More and more companies are wondering how to connect CNC machines and 3D printers to speed up the execution of projects. Tolerances of less than 0.01 mm can be achieved with CNC machines, making them ideal for applications where precision is crucial. However, 3D printers have an accuracy of 0.1 mm, which is why incremental manufacturing is widely used in prototyping. The prototypes can be printed on a 3D printer. Then the CNC machine will be able to finish the product. 

Production on demand and immediate pricing

Production strategies known as” production on demand „or” cloud manufacturing ” have evolved. This began to disrupt the supply chain sector and was accelerated by the coronavirus, the war in Ukraine, and the supply problems with China. The term „production on demand” describes a method of production in which products are produced precisely when needed and in the necessary quantities. On the other hand, traditional production requires expensive in-house production machines, mass production of goods or reliance on local production partners. Production on demand reduces capital investment, increases the speed of delivery, and improves resilience.

Several other factors, such as the reduced cost of CNC machined parts and fast ordering with instant pricing software, have contributed to the widespread acceptance of On-Demand Manufacturing. Custom enclosures are reliable for businesses of all sizes. Consumers, businesses, and the environment can benefit from the program. Here are three key benefits that companies can gain from On-Demand Manufacturing:

  • reduction of production costs
  • agile operation thanks to faster purchases and greater availability of various production technologies
  • easy access to global production resources

Improving CNC machining with digital twins

Digital twins are used for a deeper understanding of equipment operation and processes. In most cases, a digital twin is an exact copy of its physical counterpart. In addition, while simulations often show only one feature, digital twins are more complex. They can simultaneously provide information about many different processes. Digital twins in CNC manufacturing can be implemented in process planning, machining, model building, and feedback loops. Based on various input parameters such as feed rate, tool material, and clamping force, a surface roughness prediction model can be implemented using carrier vector machines, generating tool paths, experimenting, and entering the results into its Model ( SVM), Gaussian process (GPR), and fully connected deep neural network (FCDNN). Digital twin technologies enhance the decision-making capabilities of process planners and machine operators to control machining parameters during process and machining planning.

Increased investment in automation

Automation also affects the CNC machining process in many different ways. Its importance has increased in recent years, and this trend will continue. Automation, on the other hand, focuses on individual processing. For example, the collaboration between Mitsubishi and AIST has led to the development of CNC machine solutions that integrate artificial intelligence and automated processes. This error correction method uses artificial intelligence to estimate the difference between the current position of a CNC machine and its setpoint. According to the results of the tests, the strategy achieved a 51% improvement in accuracy compared to the solution without artificial intelligence. The technology can also be improved during dynamic machining, which saves time while maintaining high quality. The trend is to automate the entire factory. The benefits of this action are simple: labor cost savings increased productivity and consistency. With camera-controlled robots to automatically charge or unload CNC machines, factories will build additional workstations to manage marking, measurement and packaging to take advantage of the capabilities of autonomous factories. When developing an automated factory, you need to ask yourself a few questions:

  • Is the current mix of parts suitable for automated production?
  • Are there appropriate machine functions, tools, and control systems that enable factories to process without lighting?
  • How to get automation-friendly flexible tools and work grips?
  • How will remote monitoring, maintenance, and troubleshooting be ensured?
  • How to automatically detect errors such as machine downtime, tool failure, or software failure?

A well-executed machining Workshop has a huge potential to revolutionize machining, but workshops need to be willing to invest and improve their processes. Of course, this high degree of automation is only suitable for the production of repetitive parts on a large scale; it will not work well for prototyping and small-scale production, which requires human optimization, creativity, and practicality.

Developing environmentally sustainable solutions

CNC manufacturers will need to start tracking and reducing the carbon footprint of their manufacturing processes and supply chains to meet customers ’ growing demand for greener products. New or redoubled efforts to reduce carbon emissions through CNC machining services will continue to meet consumer demand and support corporate responsibility and government agency regulation. Manufacturing companies will need to use more easily accessible production and supply data chains to conduct more accurate carbon footprint assessments of their products and discover new ways to produce and ship their products in a more environmentally friendly way.

Development of production as a service

MaaS (Manufacturing as a Service) has only recently entered the CNC machining industry. However, it can be expected that over time it will gain popularity. In short, MaaS uses network resources for production activities and makes them available through digital interfaces. MaaS can provide companies with greater flexibility, increased productivity, agility, and cost savings with less effort. As the effects of the pandemic continue, it is safe to say that companies looking to reduce spending and have tight budgets will at least consider ordering Maas services based on CNC, as this will help save materials and improve the work of each milling machine. The market research report indicates that the market dynamics of CNC are changing. The report focuses on the fact that the manufacturing sector will increasingly use CNC. The competitive landscape will show that those implementing new technologies will undoubtedly have an advantage in the CNC industry.