The Future of CNC Machining
To remain competitive, manufacturers must constantly deliver more in terms of part features, quality, selection, price, customization, delivery time, service, and more. For these reasons, machine shops are relying more heavily on advanced technologies such as CNC machining and 5-axis machining. CNC machining delivers efficiency gains and precision that are often not feasible with other technologies. Below are some of the latest trends that will map out the future of CNC machining. The coming years are characterized by an increasing degree of part complexity and the need for production flexibility and efficiency.
Many of these concepts are being actively deployed across many industries, allowing manufacturers to reap the benefits of these technologies now as well as position themselves to remain competitive in the future. It should be noted that simply employing these technologies and approaches does not translate to CNC machining expertise. Proven manufacturers, like ABS with 50+ years of experience, combine state-of-the-art CNC equipment with decades of time on tools and machining know-how. ABS also consistently invests in the future with cutting-edge technologies, like 5-axis CNC machinery and the latest software programs.
Supply Chain Shifts and Reshoring
One of the key lessons learned during the global Covid-19 pandemic was that supply chains are often fragile and spread out. Supply chains where manufacturing is physically located a long distance from the end consumer comes with challenges and risks. With the digitalization of manufacturing and increased automation, workforces are becoming less reliant on humans and fewer personnel are required. These advances have enabled manufacturing to be profitable in nearly any location worldwide. OEMs are seeking to lower the risks in their supply chain and the future of CNC machining is expected to see the continued shift to reshoring. Reshoring is the concept of bringing machining back to North America – to achieve a more localized supply chain that reduces risks. There are many factors that influence the trend in reshoring, but digitalized manufacturing, such as Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), is certainly playing a part. Visit our website to learn more about the benefits of reshoring to North America with ABS.
Manufacturing Solutions that Rely on a Mix of Technologies
In recent years, the manufacturing industry has quickly evolved. Manufacturers must continuously assess new technologies to determine if they can add value and if they present an opportunity for the bottom line. As new innovations become available, machine shops must be able to adapt and incorporate them in order to offer customers the most cost-effective solution – without sacrificing quality or performance.
One manufacturing technology that has gained traction in recent years is 3D printing. 3D printing is rapidly advancing and is now being utilized by some CNC machine shops. 3D printing is a process that builds a three-dimensional object based on a CAD sketch. 3D printing is one of several technologies under the umbrella of Additive Manufacturing, named as such since it starts from nothing and builds layer by layer of material – compared to Subtractive Manufacturing that starts with a block of raw material and removes material to achieve the desired final part. Fabricators are able to employ 3D printers to rapidly create prototypes as well as scale models for customers – accelerating the design step for new CNC machining projects and allowing for multiple iterations without sacrificing significant time. Additionally, 3D printing typically utilizes less raw materials, leading to less waste generation and lower costs. There are some instances where a combination of 3D printing and CNC machining may be the most cost-effective solution. For example, 3D printing may be used for prototyping a part or creating a scale model. Then, CNC machining is employed for full scale production of the product.
Have a complex project that requires high-precision CNC machining?
Contact the ABS team to leverage our CNC technologies and precision machining solutions.
Advanced CNC Machines
CNC machines are becoming more sophisticated and single machines are able to perform multiple tasks with fewer set-ups – in many cases a single setup. 5-axis machines have been – and continue to be - one of the latest technology trends in CNC machining. Multi-axis equipment enables a part to be completed with a single set-up, leading to more precise machining and fewer errors as well as faster cut times. For these reasons, 5-axis machines are able to fabricate higher complexity parts and often set manufacturers, like ABS, apart from the competition. One of the latest technology advancements in CNC machining has been the addition of a new axis – making some CNC equipment capable of 6-axis machining. While this technology is still in its infancy and is not readily adopted, it is expected to grow in the coming years.
Heavily Reliance on Automation
Automation continues to have a huge presence in the future of CNC machining. Automation comes in different forms with two examples being the automation rate and the level of automation. The automation rate in machine shops continues to increase with time and is the amount of machinery and equipment that is automated, replacing manual tasks. For example, cobots, collaborative robots that work side-by-side humans, continue to gain traction in manufacturing and are an example of increased automation rate on the shop floor. Cobots are easily programed and have excellent dexterity, making this form of automation a good option for manufacturers that need to be nimble in their workflows. Many robots use real-time data and artificial intelligence to collect information and “remember” – making these technologies incredibly capable. Cobots and other forms of digital automation improve efficiencies and enable machine shops to keep pace with market demand.
The level of automation in manufacturing is also increasing with time, which means more tasks along the supply chain are being automated. For example, customers are demanding more transparency in their supply chains. Quality and traceability requirements are growing and technologies such as the IIoT enable this level of real-time data collection and remote tracking. In many cases, this data is available real-time via a dashboard with the desired output summarized for easier and quicker consumption.
Focus on Sustainability
Businesses are often focused on the 3 P’s: people, planet, and profit; thus, sustainability is a big focus area for manufacturing including CNC machining. Manufacturers are focusing more on their environmentally-friendliness and often work to reduce their footprint. Some ways that machine shops are increasing sustainability efforts include emissions reductions, lower energy consumption, and less waste generation. For example, many CNC machine shops are increasing the level of automation in their operations – yielding efficiency gains and less waste. Additionally, during the past couple of years of supply chain disruptions, CNC machine shops often have a greater appreciation for raw materials and the value of minimizing waste. Lastly, some CNC machine shops are working with OEMs to identify opportunities to reuse and recycle materials at the end of a product’s life cycle.
ABS CNC Machining Expertise
ABS set out on a path over 4 decades ago to become a global leader in large machining, with the most advance and versatile fleet of equipment. By achieving this goal, ABS has grown to be recognized as one of the largest and most advanced contract manufacturing companies in North America. ABS’ fleet of CNC Boring Mills, Vertical Turning Lathes, and Table Type Boring Mills are supposed across six facilities and serviced with cranes lifting capacities up to 160 tons. Backed by a dedicated staff of professionals in each discipline of manufacturing, ABS truly offers a single source for the most challenging programs of today and for the future. Successfully achieving this goal organically required the following commitments:
- Continuous investment regardless of economic cycles.
- Acquisition of the most advanced technologies in the Large Machining industry.
- Continuous improvements and upgrades of existing capital to ensure all assets are leading edge in the industry.
- Advancing internal capabilities for maintenance programs.
- Building a Government recognized Training Facility to ensure continuity, and that future skilled trades are available.
- Investing and expansion in all support staff roles such as Safety, Quality, Engineering, and Production Control.
Contact us today to see how we can help with your machining project, or give us a call at 1-844-227-6224.
CNC MACHINING · FABRICATION · ASSEMBLY
Precision Machining ↓
ABS offers a unique combination of medium to high volume production machining and welding services.
80 Large Advanced CNC Machine Tools
ABS is one of the largest and most advanced manufacturing companies in North America.
6 Plants with lifting capacity up to 160 Tons
The ABS 5-Axis machining department has been built from the ground up with our customers’ needs in mind.
Centrifugal and Turbo Machined Impellers
Fabrication & Quality Assurance ↓
Heavy Fabrication Mig, Tig, Flux Core, Sub Arc
Mig, Tig, Flux Core, Sub Arc
Inconel 625 Hotwire Tig
Inconel 625 Hotwire Tig
Quality Assurance & Control
Quality Assurance & Control