Industrial components require precise engineering and timely turnaround. To adhere to these strict standards, many sectors use computer numerical control (CNC) machines to create the custom parts they need. These industries require reliable, well-made parts with a high level of precision. Common CNC industrial applications include parts for the aerospace, electronics and medical industries.
CNC MACHINING CAPABILITIES
Machining uses many types of tools to form basic materials. These tools include lathes, mills, electric discharge machines, plasma cutters and water jet cutters. Machinists choose the best of these tools when making required cuts or shaping a part. For instance, when cutting material that could sustain damage from a traditional cutter, such as granite, the machinist may use a water jet cutter.
Other CNC tools used for creating precise industrial parts include:
- Mill: This tool forms complex parts over three to five axes.
- Lathe: This tool cuts round shapes along two axes.
- Electric discharge machine (EDM): This tool uses electrical charges to break off small pieces of two conductive materials.
- Plasma cutter: This tool combines electrical arcs with compressed air to create a plasma torch for high-speed cutting of hard metals.
All these tools work as subtractive devices that remove excess material from a full piece to create the desired shape. This aspect of CNC machining sets it apart from additive processes, such as 3D printing.
Today’s machining capabilities extend beyond basic metal. With material cutting and shaping functionalities that can apply to plastics, metal, granite and more, CNC machining options allow for the formation of a wider variety of products that meet the needs of many sectors.
AEROSPACE INDUSTRY USE
For the aerospace industry, the quality management system used for part construction must meet ISO 9001:2015 and AS9100D standards. These guidelines indicate that the machining provider will meet regulatory and statutory requirements. Therefore, businesses that hold to these standards pledge to meet their customers’ needs and those of any regulatory agencies they produce parts for, such as the aerospace industry.
One of the hallmarks of the aerospace industry is its need for complex, customized parts. To accomplish this with CNC machining, most machinists use a 5-axis CNC machine where a computer controls tools moving along five axes to create the part’s design. The machinist must know how to maintain and operate the machine to get the best performance from it and ensure the quality of the finished product. CNC machining with a 5-axis machine allows for greater efficiency, better surface finishes and ideal cutting speed. The combination of these benefits makes 5-axis CNC machining an ideal option for the aerospace industry.
A production facility crafting for the aerospace industry must be able to make substantial pieces to create the body and bigger components of aerospace vehicles. For instance, aerospace pieces up to 118 inches by 236 inches can fit into our CNC milling machines. In addition to the part fitting into the machines, it must also fit into the working areas. Operators must have the training to set up the machine for large parts, which may require adjustments to ensure accuracy when milling.
Aerospace CNC machining also requires a facility to create smaller components, such as the electronics that power and control the plane or aircraft.
Electronic components often have fine details and unusual shapes that require specialty production. CNC machining for electronics can include fashioning connectors, housing, PCBs, heat sinks, semiconductors and test fixtures.
When it comes to electronics, many devices need a prototype built before going into production runs. CNC machining allows the computerized design to turn into a working prototype for evaluation before choosing to have a specialty machine built for production or ordering a small run of the product.
Due to the small size of the electronics parts, many require precision micro-machining to complete. The ability to adapt to work on large and small pieces makes CNC machining a flexible option to fulfill the electronics and many other industries’ needs.
CNC MACHINING FOR MEDICAL USE
Medical components occasionally require customization, especially in implants and medical devices. CNC machining makes creating individual or small batches of these parts possible. With precision machining, the parts can also have the accurate dimensions required.
Some may wonder why precision is important in medical CNC manufacturing. It is especially crucial given that medical devices, artificial joints, bone plates, rods and implants must work with patients and fit their bodies and lifestyles. Implants and patient devices such as insulin pumps must stand up to rigorous use and last for years. When well-made, these components will have a smooth exterior and lasting construction that makes them effective.
Medical professionals also rely on CNC-machined parts. Surgical tools created from one piece of metal function reliably during operations as they have no removable parts to get lost. Additionally, by producing new surgical tools, machinists help doctors avoid contamination caused by reusing tools after improper cleaning.
CNC machining also makes parts for larger devices and even small components used for fitting implants. For example, ventilator parts and medical screws are two types of parts a machine shop can produce.
Medical screws are in extremely high demand with an industry-wide manufacturing rate of 900 million annually. Of these screws, 90% of them use stainless steel or titanium in their construction. Despite the differences in materials, almost all medical screws form on lathes. Since doctors use these screws inside the human body, the pieces cannot have stray parts and must screw into bone as needed. Failing screws could require additional surgeries on a patient, increasing the chances of complications. Precision in even these tiny parts could help to save a patient’s life or limb.
Medical industry machined parts must have a high level of precision to avoid medical complications, provide doctors with working tools and make patients’ lives better. Through computer-designed direction, CNC machining can produce these benefits almost automatically to the required precision.
CONNECT WITH ASTRO MACHINE WORKS FOR MORE ABOUT CNC INDUSTRIAL APPLICATIONS
When your company requires this high level of expertise in machining, contact Astro Machine Works. With more than 30 years in the industry and a facility that meets ISO 9001 and AS9100, we can fulfill the needs of a variety of jobs to the highest standards of quality and accuracy.
Our experience and equipment make us a top choice for custom-machined parts. By delivering exceptional value, we provide our customers with solutions to their problems and high service caliber.