Meet Your “Other” Employees: The Basic Parts of a CNC Machine
If you carve your name on a wood using a very sophisticated font, you’re lucky if you’ll finish your first name in 24 hours perfectly. Years ago, wood crafting and metal crafting are very expensive massive- labor industries because every aspect of the manufacturing is done by hand. There was minimal machine intervention but the designs were still as intricate.
Today, with the help of technology, wood carving, metal molding, cutting and even finishing can be done simultaneously with minimal hands involved. In fact, a company is deemed unproductive if it mass produces products every day BY HAND.
CNC (Computer Numerical Control) machines are in demand in industries where hands are better off pushing buttons than doing actual labor. Businessmen are raving about this wonder-machine because it is accurate, speedy and flexible.
The CNC machine is actually a factory of its own. There are different parts that have specific functions. Let’s get to know the “factory workers”.
The Vice is what holds the material which is to be cut or molded. It is important that the vice must be tight; so the material will be held securely. When the CNC machine starts to operate, the material will dash out of the vice if it is not secured. The vice usually works like a clamp that needs to hold the material not just securely but also in the right position.
The Guard—just like any other guard—works like a “protection” to the person operating the CNC machine. Once the CNC starts working, scraps of the material can “shoot off” at high speed. This is very risky for the operator if a piece hits him/her. The guard completely covers all the hazardous sides of the CNC machine.
The chuck holds the cutting tool. Sophisticated designs require maximum chuck precision so the actual design can be realized.
The motor rotates the chuck at very high speed. It is hidden and protected inside the machine. You have to take care of this part very carefully. Nowadays, cooling and lubrication is automated in most CNC machines. Usually, if this part doesn’t function well, it is the most difficult to treat. It is advised to have a CNC technician handy all the time.
THE LATHE BED
Like the sea bed, this is the sturdy base of the CNC machine. It is connected to the headstock and aids the carriage and tailstock to be parallel with the spindle’s axis. It is securely bolted so it remains unshaken by the vibration of the machine when it starts operating.
THE CUTTING TOOL/ CUTTER
This is the where the first-level shaping occurs. The cutter is usually made from high quality steel so as to cut the specific material fed to the CNC machine.
As a businessman, it is important that you get to know your employees, bond with them and earn their respect without scaring them. When you have CNC machines working for you, it is equally important that you understand them well. Do not be fooled by the CNC machine salesmen who court your interest because they are usually just after your purchase.
You have to master what comprises these machines, what makes them dysfunctional and most of all, what makes them stay in your company. Just don’t start talking to them. That would be really, really, dysfunctional.