CNC Machines: The Key to Mass Production

CNC MachineComputer Numerical Control (CNC) machines are more often associated with batch production processes, but it is also invaluable for mass or line production.

These machines have minimal to zero waste, and they are fast and accurate. The benefits to manufacturers are obvious, too. One, part production can now happen in-house, instead of having to contract third-party fabricators; and two, costs are lowered due to the following:

  • Operators can keep machines on 24/7. These machines have the capacity to perform continuous and heavy-duty work. It’s acceptable to switch them off only for regular maintenance. Of course, they need to have cooling systems working in conjunction with it to prevent overheating.
  • Production can proceed with less manpower. CNC machines can do the job of one or more men, in fact. Similarly, one person can supervise one or more CNC machines.
  • Production will be more efficient, and this will decrease turnaround times, resource expenditure, and overall operations costs.

Use of CNC in Batch Production

Batch production is not interchangeable with mass production. It is the method of manufacturing products stage by stage, from one workstation to another. The output volume is not as high as in mass production, but at a smaller scale (by batch).

Using lasers, plasmas, probes and blades, CNC machines may perform one or all of these functions:

  • Drilling (creates smooth holes)
  • Milling (engraves)
  • Tapping (creates threaded holes)
  •  Beveling (cuts a slope or angle on a sharp edge)

This means that it’s possible to execute multiple stages of batch production in one station.

These machines are programmable and, again, very accurate. This is a boon for manufacturers. When all goes well in batch productions, manufacturers can escalate their process to a mass production model easily.

Batch Production Success Determines Mass Production Process

By definition, mass or line production is the continuous production of items wherein all stages occur simultaneously.

Some manufacturers look at batch production as a testing stage. If product demand diminishes, they can simply stop creating new batches of products and avoid losses. If projections for demand are promising, batch production can supply the materials needed in the line assembly for mass production.

Looking at the bigger picture, it’s evident that CNC machines play an important role in the mass production of metal-based products like vehicles and fabrications.