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Unlocking the Power of CNC Machining: An In-depth Industry Guide

Dive into the world of CNC machining, uncovering how it transforms modern manufacturing with high precision and efficiency. This comprehensive guide covers the technology, applications, and strategic selection of suppliers.

Why Choose China CNC Machining Services?

There are many reasons to choose Chinese manufacturers for CNC machining, including their competitive pricing, extensive experience, and robust supply chains. However, First of all, You need to consider whether CNC machining in China is worth it for your specific project, as shipping costs can add up. In general, Chinese CNC machining service providers are a great option for companies who look to save on overall costs without sacrificing quality.

How to Find a CNC machining company in China?

There are a few key steps to take when trying to find and identify a suitable Chinese CNC machining company.
  • Firstly, checking for and research any certifications that the company may have is a good way to get an idea of their competence in the field.
  • Secondly, speaking with other hardware companies who have contracted out to Chinese manufacturers in the past can give you some good insights and first-hand experiences to work off of.
  • Thirdly, it is essential that you demand information from the shortlisted companies before making any final decision – ask as many questions as necessary to ensure that they would be able to execute your project satisfactorily.
  • And fourthly, if at all possible, try to visit the factories of the companies you are considering. This will give you the best chance to see and assess their abilities first-hand. If visiting the factories is not possible, then hiring a manufacturing agent to do it for you may be the next best option.
  • Finally, sending out requests for quotation (RFQs) to various companies on your shortlist will help you to determine which company can offer the best price for the project.
By following these steps, you should be able to find a Chinese CNC machining company that is best suited for your needs.

What Is CNC Machining?   

CNC stands for Computer Numerical Control, and CNC machining is a computerized manufacturing process. You can make your industrial manufacturing process fully automated and more efficient with CNC machining. 

Cnc Machining

CNC machining uses CNC software to operate all the motions and movements of production equipment. It can handle various types of sophisticated machinery such as grinders, lathes, and turning mills to shape, cut, and create different prototypes. 

You can use CNC machining to operate the industrial machine and cutting tools used for shaping materials like metal, wood, plastic, foam, and many more.

A CNC machinist combines various technical drawings, mathematics, mechanical design, and computer programming skills in the manufacturing process. 

What Industries use CNC Machining? 

Some industries need high precision in the manufacturing process for the sake of life and death. Component failure in those sectors can put lives at stake. They use CNC machining to manufacture products with high precision. Some industries have their own CNC machine to manufacture products as they need. Other businesses prefer a professional CNC machining company to fulfill their needs. Here is the list of some industries that use CNC machining
Medical Industry
The medical industry highly depends on CNC machining for its customized devices and tools. Some of those are:
  • Orthotic devices
  • MRI machines
  • Shielded enclosures
  • Implants
  • Electronic tools for monitoring devices
  • Research equipment
  • FDA-approved production
Cnc medical Parts
Aerospace Industry
Aerospace is another industry where CNC machining is highly needed. Here are some parts where CNC machining is mandatory:
  • Airfoils
  • Manifolds
  • Antennae
  • Bushings
  • Landing gear parts
  • Electrical connectors
Transportation Industry
Like the aviation industry, many products of the transportation industry need the help of CNC machining. Transport vehicles need durable and robust components to transport heavyweights across countries. The transportation industry needs parts for:
  • Freight trains
  • Passenger rail
  • 18-wheel transport trucks
  • Shipping vessels
  • Passenger vehicles
  • And others
Electronics Industry 
The electronic industry uses CNC machining for manufacturing small components for various purposes. Some of those products are:
  • Amplifier housings
  • Electrical insulation
  • Heat sinks
  • Radiofrequency interference shielding
Military and Defense Industry 
The military and defense industry needs various parts that can endure even the harshest environment. To achieve that, they use CNC machining to manufacture many items such as:
  • Transportation components
  • Communications components
  • Plane parts
  • Electronics
Cnc Machining Military Parts  Other than these industries, many other sectors use CNC machining for various purposes.

What Are The Types Of CNC Machining? 

CNC machining can operate many complex functions with minimal human effort. It offers multiple advantages over machining that does not have the power of the CNC program. CNC machining significantly reduces cycle times and delivers highly optimized finished products. Here are the types of CNC machining you will see in many industries.
  • CNC Lathes and Turning Machines
  • CNC Milling Machines
  • CNC Laser Machines
  • EDM or CNC Electrical Discharge Machines
  • CNC Plasma Cutting Machines

What is the Working Process of  CNC Machining?

CNC machining is a fully automated system. All you need to provide the digital files and deliver appropriate instructions about tooling and trajectories. For producing a particular part, the machining process and design require many tools. CNC machining experts can make digital tool libraries to work with the physical machine. CNC machines can automatically switch tooling using these digital instructions. This robust process makes them a manufacturing workhorse. A typical CNC machining process follows the following steps:
  • CAD model designing
  • Transforming the CAD design to a CNC program
  • Preparing the machine
  • Final Execution

What is CNC CAD Model Design? 

CAD design means Computer-Aided Design. The CAD design of a 3D or 2D solid part is the first step of a CNC machining process. You can do it with your in-house CAD designer, or you can take help from a professional CAD design agency.

CAD model for Cnc Machining

A CAD design software such as Autodesk is necessary to create the CAD design. You can use any CAD design software to create your CAD design. With the CAD design, a designer creates a model or renders the parts of a model. The produced CAD design also contains technical specifications, such as geometrics, dimensions for the parts. 

One vital thing to consider before making the CAD design is your CNC machine and tooling specification. How you should prepare your CAD design primarily depends on the type of your CNC machine. 

Typical CNC machine tooling is cylindrical. So, with the standard CNC machining process, you can only achieve a curved corner section. Therefore traditional CNC machining has some design limitations, and you can not output every design model from regular CNC machines. Moreover, the properties of the materials you will work on, tooling design, and machine’s work holding capabilities also restrict the design capabilities. The part size, minimum part thickness, features, and the complexity and inclusion of internal cavities also depend on those factors.  

After the designer completes the CAD design, he/she exports the file to CNC file formats such as IGES or STEP. 

How To Transforming A CNC CAD Design To A CNC Program

A CAM or computer-aided manufacturing application runs the formatted CAD file. This software extracts the part geometry and produces the code that will operate the CNC machine. With the power of this code, the CNC machine will manufacture the custom-designed part. So the complete process is like this. 

The designer will create the part’s CAD design -> CAM software will convert the design and send it to the CNC machine -> CNC machine manufactures the part according to the design.  

A CNC machine uses multiple computer programming languages such as M-Code, G-Code to convert the CAD design into a digital command. G-code or general/geometric code is the most common CNC programming code. The G-code controls the movement of the machine tools like turning on/off, the velocity for a particular location, selecting the path, etc. 

CNC machining program

The M-code or Miscellaneous functions code, on the contrary, controls auxiliary functions of the CNC machine. The applications that M-code performs are removing and replacing the machine cover at the beginning or end of production. 

A CNC machinist loads the CNC program and prepares the machine to manufacture. 

How To Prepare And Execute A CNC Machine and? 

You have to set the CNC machine before performing the CNC operation. The first step is to affix the workpiece into the CNC machine. You have to fix the material into machine vises or a work-holding device or onto machinery spindles. Then you have to attach the tooling such as endmills, drill bits to the appropriate machine components. 

Preparation for CNC machining

After everything is set up, the operator will run the CNC program. 

The CNC program controls every action of the CNC machine. CNC program tells the integrated computer of the CNC machine how it should dictate the tooling actions and movements. The integrated computer manipulates and controls the machine tolling. After the program sends the commands, the CNC machine starts the process. The program guides the machine throughout the working process, and the machine produces the custom-designed part you were looking for. 

What Are The Common CNC Machining Operations? 

Many industries such as construction, aerospace, agriculture, automotive, or even use CNC machining to manufacture various parts. Even CNC machining is essential for producing multiple military types of equipment. That tells a lot about the wide range of applications that a CNC machine can perform. Though CNC machining can do many operations, most industries use CNC machining for the following operations:
  • Drilling
  • Milling
  • Turning
  • CNC Grinding
  • CNC Routing
  • CNC Plasma Cutter.
  • CNC 3-D Printer
  • CNC Pick and Place

What Is CNC Drilling? 

Everyone knows what drilling is. This is a machining process that uses multi-point drill bits to create holes in a material. The CNC drilling is no exception, but it a more precise manner. Here the CNC machine uses a rotating drill bit on the workpiece. 

CNC drilling

In most cases, the CNC machine uses the drill bit perpendicular to the workpiece and drills the exact sized hole of the drill bit. However, you can perform angular drilling operations with specialized CNC machine configuration. You can perform countersinking, reaming, tapping, and counterboring with the CNC drilling operation.  

What Is CNC Milling

The machining process of removing material from a workpiece with a multi-point cutting tool is known as milling. The manual milling machines feed the working material in the inverse direction to the rotating cutting tools, whereas CNC machines feed in the same direction. 

CNC Milling

You can perform face milling, such as cutting flat, shallow surfaces and flat-bottomed cavities into the working material. Moreover, you can perform peripheral milling like threads and slots into the working material. 

CNC milling can also perform drilling and boring operations, but costly options only for drilling purposes. 

What Is CNC Turning? 

The machining process of removing material from a workpiece with a single-point cutting tool is called Turning. The CNC turning machine is also called a CNC lathe machine, and it employs the cutting tool along the workpiece’s surface in a linear motion. The cutting tool then removes the material from around the workpiece before you achieve the desired diameter. 

CNC turning

Thus the CNC machine manufactures various cylindrical parts such as tapers, slots, and threads with internal and external features. The turning process of a CNC machine can perform multiple operations such as facing, boring, thread cutting, and grooving. 

What is CNC Grinding and Routing? 

CNC Grinding

In CNC grinding, a CNC machine uses a rotating grinding wheel for removing material, providing a precise finishing to the final product. The final product quality of CNC grinding is very high. Therefore the process is used in the last step of the manufacturing process. 

CNC Routing 

CNC routing performs the same operations as CNC milling, and the main difference is the type of materials you can use in both processes. CNC routing is ideal for softer materials as the output power of this process is less. If you are dealing with rigid materials such as metal, CNC routing is not a wise option. 

CNC Routing

However, CNC routing is a fast process, and it decreases the manufacturing time. Plasma – CNC plasma cutters are used to cut metal and wood (2 dimensional) and do not require as much power as a CNC router. These machines use a plasma torch to penetrate wood or sheet metal.

What Is CNC Plasma And Laser Cutter?  CNC Plasma Cutter

CNC plasma cutters work on wood and metal. It is a 2-dimensional operation and does not need as much power as a CNC router. In this process, the CNC machine uses a plasma torch to go through thin sheet metal and any kind of wood.  

CNC Laser Cutter

The operation of the CNC laser cutter is similar to the CNC plasma cutter. You can use the CNC laser cutter on metal sheets and wood. Moreover, you can use it to cut plastic materials. 

What is a CNC 3-D Printer?

3D- printer is becoming popular day by day, and you can also use the CNC machining technology in a 3D-printer. CNC 3-D printer works similarly to CNC laser but slowly uses an extruder and constantly deposits plastic for producing the desired product. 

What is a CNC Pick and Place Device? 

This type of CNC machine can pick up various electrical components and place them in the electronic equipment. Pick and place CNC machines come with multiple nozzles to operate electronic devices. This type of CNC machine is widely used to manufacture computers, tablets, cellphones, etc. 

Why Is CNC Machining Necessary?

CNC machining is a widely used technology these days and is used in various fields. From Hobbyists to military service, CNC machining can deliver many advantages. CNC machining can turn raw material into a precisely finished final product and, at the same time, costs money and effort. CNC machining is a fast and efficient process and very safe to use too. 

What Products Can Be Made Using CNC  Machining?

With CNC machines, the possibilities are infinite. You can manufacture seemingly any type of product using CNC machining technology. 

We often see CNC machining manufactured products in our lives such as pens, rims for tires, paintball guns, ventilators, guitars, various wooden blocks, and much more. CNC machines have the unmatched advantage of working on multiple materials such as plastic, wood, metal, etc. 

CNC machining not only provides precise products but also speeds up the manufacturing process. It also reduces the production cost. 

CNC machines come in various forms and can produce different types of products and parts for multiple industries. For example, a 3-axis CNC milling machine can manufacture regular geometric-shaped products. For more complex parts, you can use a 5-axis CNC milling machine. 

For its precise operational ability, CNC machining is a must-have technology in various industries such as medical, aerospace, automobile, defense, etc. 

CNC machining can manufacture basic, delicate, intricate, and flexible types of products. And the most important advantage that you will get from a CNC machine is that it produces very little waste, and the production process is 100% human error-free. 

3-Axis, 4-Axis, And 5-Axis CNC Machining – What Does It Mean? 

Milling is an essential CNC machine operation. The operating process of a milling machine determines the operational capability of that machine. According to those capabilities, there are 3 types of CNC milling machines. They are 3-Axis, 4-Axis, And 5-Axis CNC milling machines. 

The main difference between these 3 CNC machining is the movement of the workpiece. Ina 3-axis machine the workpiece doesn’t rotate on any axis. Therefore, it is not possible to work on more than one surface with a single setup. 

A 4-axis machine on the other, the workpiece rotates 360 degrees about the X-axis. Therefore it becomes easier to work on all four surfaces with a single fixture. 

And, lastly, there is a 5-axis machine that provides an extra angled surface to work with.  

What Are The Benefits Of 5 Axis CNC Machining?

5-Axis CNC machining is more sophisticated than traditional CNC Machining. Regular 3-axis machines move in three directions (X, Y, and Z coordinates), but the 5-axis adds two more rotary axes allowing them to work on complex-shaped workpieces. Here are five benefits you will get from the 5-Axis CNC machining. 

Fewer Setups

You can machine virtually every visible surface with 5-axis machining technology without the clamping and bottom portion. For this facility, you don’t need to set up multiple fixtures for different surfaces. Thus you can minimize your manufacturing costs significantly. 

Complex Shapes

The capability of working with complex shapes is the most important benefit of 5-axis machining. The additional movement provides complicated machining angles and arcs. Without this facility, you will need multiple fixtures to work on various angles, increasing your production cost and increasing production time.  

Relational Accuracy

When the setup changes, the accuracy will change. When you remove a part from the machine, you can achieve precise alignment again. As CNC machining is all about precise operations, even a slight loss of accuracy can be costly. 5-axis machining feature to feature accuracy for your final production. 

3+2 Axis Machining

You can machine with simultaneous movement in 5-Axis with the 5-axis machining process. But some parts need 3+2 movement. Luckily you can also achieve this in a 5-axis machining process.  

In the 3+2 machining technique, the workpiece stays fixed on either side of the fifth axis and does not move simultaneously. For some parts, you will need this CNC machining process. 

Better Surface Finish

The fourth and fifth axis rotation can bring the workpiece closer to the cutting tool. Therefore, you can use a shorter cutting tool to perform your operation. A shorter cutting tool has less susceptibility against vibration and can generate higher cutting speeds. As a result, with 5-Axis machining, you will have better-finished products. 

What Is Quality Control In CNC Machining And How To Ensure It? 

CNC machining companies use quality control procedures to measure the quality of a CNC machine’s product. Every production unit must follow specific quality control procedures and CNC machines are no exception. CNC machining Quality Control If you appoint a  CNC manufacturing company to aid your manufacturing process, you are looking for a macroscopic tolerance limit. For example, if you are producing oil line valves allowing 1mm tolerance, thousands of cars will leak oil. Similar things will happen in other industries’ products that need minimal tolerance. Quality control ensures the tolerance level will stay as minimal as possible following the industry-standard margins of that product.
  • The first rule of quality control is to ensure the machine has proper CNC equipment such as a milling machine, grinder, router, etc., to create the product or the prototype. You should purchase your equipment from a registered dealer. If you are hiring a CNC machining company, ask them to provide a warranty for their service.
  • A professional CNC machining company will maintain the optimum quality by following a proper maintenance protocol and frequent calibration. Some maintenance protocols do not include spindles on the CNC equipment. But if they are included in every maintenance protocol, that significantly reduces the downtime.
  • It is better to conduct an inspection using your own quality control procedure. It is better to have a QC tester on your plant.
  • Every professional CNC company keeps a record of its production. Checking those records is another good quality control inspection process. Records of previous inspections and showing them using data tables and charts shows the capability and QC standard of a CNC machine company.
  • Sound Predictive Maintenance Programs cover the variability management system of a CNC machine. It also covers the maintenance and reliability of the CNC machining process. Therefore, execute a sound PMD program.
  • The CNC machining operations are as good as the hand behind the machine. Sometimes less skilled persons operate the machine, which results in faulty material or products with increased tolerance. To overcome this skill gap, the manufacturer can contact the local CNC machine institution and ensure highly skilled CNC machinists.
  • Get an ISO certification. For example, companies with ISO 9000 certification have improved business functions and execution. They ensure better business implementation, reduces reworking, reduced scrap, and of course, lower cost. Besides, ISO certification plays a vital role in marketing and sales.

Why CNC Machining Is So Efficient 

For the conventional machining process, the CNC machining process is highly efficient. CNC machining can use a higher automation level which reduces the probable error during the manufacturing process.

 Human error plays a vital role in the manual machining process, but in CNC machining, the chance of human error is minimal. Therefore, you will get a final product with minimal error in a cost-effective way. Here are the reasons why CNC machining is highly efficient than other machining processes. 

Productivity

As CNC machining can perform complex actions simultaneously on its own, you don’t have to observe the actions all the way. The working process is entirely automated and produces the materials taking the instructions from the CNC program.

With a complex 5-axis machine, you can perform even more complex operations once in a while. The whole process shortens the production time and enhances the efficiency of your production. 

Consistency

The CNC machining process removes the possibility of human error entirely. Therefore, the machining technology is more consistent than the typical manual machining process. This machining process ensures faultless and uniform productions. For this reason, products that need compatible products with minimal tolerance level uses CNC machining.  

Cost-Effectiveness

You can perform various complex operations with a single setup in the CNC machining process. Moreover, CNC machinists need less operational training than typical manual machining machinists. As the number of productions increases, your costing for unit production decreases. So, though CNC machining is expensive, it reduces your production cost significantly for a large amount of production.

Safety

Conventional machine operations have various safety issues for machinists and products. But in CNC machining, everything is controlled by the CNC program, and the machinists have no safety concerns during the operation. 

Versatility

You can reprogram a CNC machine in a short time and manufacture a completely new model or part. The CNC machining process is suitable for both long and short-term productions. But a manual machining process needs more time to reset and manufacture new types of products. 

Which CNC Machining Machine Is The Best? 

Swiss and German brands are more popular CNC machining machine brands. Here are the names of top-selling CNC machining machine brands all over the world:
  • Okuma
  • Mikron
  • Hermle
  • Haas
  • Mazak
  • Bumotec&Starrag
  • Liechti
  • DMG Mori
  • Willemin-Model
  • Chiron

How Can I Find The Most Suitable CNC Machining Supplier? 

You can face some hard times searching for the most suitable CNC machining supplier under your niche if you are a newbie. Even experienced customers sometimes face difficulties in finding the best CNC machining supplier. But if you follow the following steps, hopefully, it will be a straightforward process for you to find an ideal CNC machining supplier:  

Visit the Manufacturer

We will highly recommend you visit the manufacturer before making a final decision about your CNC machining manufacturer. Because many foreign buyers often contact a trading company online instead of the original company. Therefore, make sure you visit the company to make sure you are dealing with the right people. 

Customers’ Feedback

You should pick a CNC machining manufacturer company with customers’ testimonials and provide you with their contact information for further verification. You should ask for every detail about their customers and don’t tell them which one you are going to contact. Thus you will be able to learn whether they are providing authentic testimonials or not. 

choose your cnc machining manufacturer carefully

Check the Payment Terms

Typically Chinese CNC machining manufacturers ask for a 50% down payment and 50% after production. We recommend finding a company that agrees to take a 30% down payment and 70% after getting the copy of the bill of lading. 

Ensure that the company agrees on quality inspection before they make the final shipment. And you must ensure the quality check yourself or with a third-party quality inspection agency.  

Manufacturer’s Location

China is a vast country, and sometimes Chinese manufacturers only provide the province’s address. But you should ask them the location of their factory. Thus you will be able to find out the nearest port from the factory. This is important because this distance will affect the road transport cost. 

Ask for Samples

Before making the final purchase, always ask for a sample from the supplier. Typically for new customers, a company willingly wants to show a sample without or minimal payment. Bear in mind that trading companies ask for a high price for samples. So, if the sample’s price is higher, you should understand you are dealing with a third party, not a company.  

 Customer Service

Customer service is very critical. Send them an email and find the response time. Use other mediums of customer service that the company offers and see the response time and service quality. DO NOT make a deal if their customer service is not satisfactory. 

MOQ or Minimum Order Quantity 

MOQ must be clarified before you make the final agreement. To be sure about the minimum order quantity, you should send them the drawing of your part of the product. Try to get as minimum MOQ as possible. 

Request Their Legal Documentation

Before choosing a CNC machining manufacturer, you should ask for their documentation. Ask for their registration number, license number, ISO certificate, COC samples, QC certificates, raw materials certificate, etc. 

Supplier’s Responsibilities

Ask the manufacturer whether he/she will be responsible for delivering the exact parts as you describe in the drawing. Also, clarify who will take responsibility if you get faulty products. A good supplier will take responsibility. Do not go for a gentlemen’s agreement; tell them to give you the commitment in writing. 

Third-Party Inspection 

Before importing your CNC machined supplies from China, you MUST make a final inspection. Use a third-party inspection team to do the job for you. Hire a company and tell them to inspect before your manufacturer makes the last shipment. 

Final Words

CNC machining is a process that makes the modern manufacturing process more robust and efficient. Many industries have their own CNC machines to manufacture their required products. And others take the help of a professional CNC machining shop. It largely depends on your requirement. 

But, one thing is for sure, you can not manufacture precise parts without CNC machining.

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