Types of CNC machines: applications and differences



Exploring the different types of CNC machines

It's clear that the market for CNC machine tools is just as varied as the tasks these machines have to perform. This is because, with the advent of Industry 4.0 and modern smart factories, these machines have gradually taken on a more predominant role within industries, particularly manufacturing. CNC technology offers efficiency, precision and consistency, which are difficult to achieve with manual machining processes. There are various methods for classifying CNC machines, most of which are based on their design and intended tasks. Among the various types of CNC machines are milling machines, lathes, laser or plasma cutting machines, drilling machines, and grinding machines. They each have their own unique features and functionalities that can be customised using computer-aided design (CAD) and computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) programs, enabling precise control over the movements of cutting tools and workpieces.

CNC milling machines: features and applications

CNC milling machines perform high-precision and versatile operations to remove material from a workpiece and shape it according to specific requirements, also producing intricate and custom shapes. They come in both vertical and horizontal versions and can be outfitted with different types of milling cutter tools, such as end mill cutters, reamers, face milling tools, taps and common cutters. Vertical milling machines feature a vertically oriented spindle that holds and rotates the cutting tool. On the other hand, horizontal milling machines have a horizontally oriented spindle, which enables them to remove material more aggressively and clear away chips more effectively. Horizontal milling machines also have the advantage of accommodating larger workpieces than vertical ones.

CNC lathes: operation and use

The CNC lathe is a highly effective tool that rotates the workpiece around a central axis, cutting it with cutters to remove material and shape it as needed. It can be categorised into three types: turret lathes, motorised lathes and special lathes. Used for various processes like cutting, honing, facing, drilling, turning and knurling, CNC lathes are ideal for producing symmetrical components, but they're not just limited to that. In fact, they are also used to manufacture products such as camshafts, car parts, gun barrels, crankshafts, baseball bats, musical instruments, dining tables and furniture legs.

CNC Lasers: Technologies and Fields of Application

Two types of CNC milling machines equipped with lasers are mainly used for cutting various sheet metals: CO2 and solid-state machines. The highly concentrated beam allows for extremely precise cuts, even more so than plasma cutting. These machines have diverse applications, such as making aerospace parts, car chassis, medical equipment and engraving materials. One notable feature of CNC laser-machined products is their clean, high-quality edges, distinguishing them from products made by other machining processes. This is due to the fact that there is no mechanical contact or force exerted on the material. Consequently, there is no need for additional finishing processes.

Other types of CNC machines: analysis and specifications

As mentioned, there are many different types of CNC machines, each with its own set of applications. In addition to the ones already mentioned, there are also CNC router machines used in carpentry and metalworking workshops that produce carved wooden furniture, mouldings, interior and exterior decorations, door carvings, signage and musical instruments; CNC Electric Discharge Machines (EDM) used in injection moulding, die-casting, punching and prototyping, or CNC grinding machines used in the automotive, aerospace and tool-making industries.

Choose the right CNC machine with Assistec

If your company wants to reap the benefits of Industry 4.0 and advance into the future, Assistec is your ideal technological partner! Situated in the heart of the metalworking district in Reggio Emilia, we have over 25 years of experience in CNC machines and industrial automation, and in providing mechanical and electronic support for machinery. Moreover, we have a business unit dedicated entirely to robotics. We are a young and dynamic company that specialises in troubleshooting and minimising machine downtime.

Find the right CNC machine tool for your needs! Contact us or call +39 0522989436 for more information. One of our operators will contact you with a personalised offer.

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  • Exploring the different types of CNC machines

    It's clear that the market for CNC machine tools is just as varied as the tasks these machines have to perform. This is because, with the advent of Industry 4.0 and modern smart factories, these machines have gradually taken on a more predominant role within industries, particularly manufacturing. CNC technology offers efficiency, precision and consistency, which are difficult to achieve with manual machining processes. There are various methods for classifying CNC machines, most of which are based on their design and intended tasks. Among the various types of CNC machines are milling machines, lathes, laser or plasma cutting machines, drilling machines, and grinding machines. They each have their own unique features and functionalities that can be customised using computer-aided design (CAD) and computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) programs, enabling precise control over the movements of cutting tools and workpieces.

  • CNC machine tool maintenance: a guarantee of optimal performance

    The maintenance and overhaul of CNC machine tools should not be confused with their repair. While repair is requested by the customer when a machine malfunctions, causing an emergency that could also lead to a halt in production, an overhaul is a scheduled or planned intervention conducted in agreement with a technological partner. During an overhaul, the machine is completely disassembled, and each individual component is carefully analysed and, if necessary, replaced or repaired. Regular overhauls are essential to ensure efficiency, precision and longevity of CNC machines. This preventive and proactive approach enables the resolution of minor issues before they cause serious damage.

  • AI at the service of machine tools

    Artificial Intelligence is now among us. Just as electricity did a hundred years ago, AI today promises to change the world. No industrial sector is exempt from this epoch-making change, from the food industry to manufacturing, to mechanical engineering and many others. In addition to being on everyone's lips, the advent of Artificial Intelligence is increasingly imposing itself in the world of work, marking a new step forward for Industry 5.0, so much so as to raise legitimate concerns as opposed to great expectations from the point of view of technological optimisation in contemporary smart factories. In particular, with regard to integration with the CNC machine park, the coupling of automated systems such as robots and cobots, and the improvement of production flow and safety in the workplace.