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CNC Prototyping and Its Advantages

CNC (computer numerical control) prototyping is a fairly new process in the field of machining that allows for better efficiency through higher levels of automation, and by making the machine and its computer controls carry out all the work. While CNC prototyping machines are pricey and complex, they rather quickly pay for themselves by minimizing the workload and preventing errors.

The first key advantage of CNC prototyping is that it improves automation, removing the need of an operator for all but a few parts of the work. CNC prototyping machines may be left alone for hours or even days, allowing operators to do other tasks. As well, this allows a company to employ less operators, hence saving on overhead. Safety is increased when there is no operator, because then any damage occurring after a potentially hazardous machining error will be confined to the machine itself. CNC prototyping machines can also work considerably faster than human machinists, being stronger and able to continue without breaks. They can also operate late at night, when most workers have returned home, because machines do not have to worry about getting sleep or receiving overtime pay.

The second biggest advantage to CNC prototyping is that it produces exactly the same result every single time. Even the best human operator will have small variations among finished outcomes, but a CNC machine will generate exactly the same result at all times. This is extremely important in the modern generation of homogeneous and compatible parts, where one defective cut can make an entire machine totally unusable. All that is needed is a single program to be created and fed into the machine. Then the machine can toil away at however many work pieces are needed, producing an exact replica down to thousandths of an inch each and every time.

The third important advantage to CNC prototyping is the flexibility of the machine. Though humans are a lot more flexible and trainable in comparison to machines, a CNC machine can be totally reprogrammed in a matter of hours to manufacture a completely different product. Therefore, it is possible to revert back to old programs or install new programs if a new work piece is needed. This gives CNC prototyping machines a large advantage over other machines, as they are quick to shift to producing an entirely different output without needing new part installations or an overhaul of key components. This also makes sure that CNC prototyping machines can cope with customer demand, because they can readily shift from parts that are in surplus to parts that are lacking, in case a need arises.