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In modern CNC systems, the design of a mechanical part and its manufacturing program is highly automated. In other installations, a number of different machines are used with an external controller and human or robotic operators that move the component from machine to machine. In either case, the series of steps needed to produce any part is highly automated and produces a part that closely matches the original CAD. As the controller hardware evolved, the mills themselves also evolved.
One change has been to enclose the entire mechanism in a large box as a safety measure, often with additional safety interlocks to ensure the operator is far enough from the working piece for safe operation. CNC-like systems are now used for any process that can be described as a series of movements and operations. Functions include: face milling, shoulder milling, tapping, drilling and some even offer turning. Today, CNC mills can have 3 to 6 axes.
Cut workpieces while they are rotated. Effective for complicated programs designed to make parts that would be infeasible to make on manual lathes. Commonly used to cut steel and other metals, but can be used on a variety of materials. The plasma is sufficiently hot to melt the material being cut and moves sufficiently fast to blow molten metal away from the cut. One of the electrodes is called the tool electrode, or simply the “tool” or “electrode,” while the other is called the workpiece electrode, or “workpiece. Initial flat stamping will be “dapped” to give a curved surface.
Considered to be highly efficient by increasing productivity through automation. Can efficiently cut materials into small pieces while simultaneously utilizing a diversified set of tooling. Multi-spindle machines have multiple spindles on a drum that rotates on a horizontal or vertical axis. There are two types of attachments for these drill heads, fixed or adjustable, depending on whether the center distance of the drilling spindle needs to be varied. Wire EDM allows for near 90 degree corners and applies very little pressure on the material. Also called cavity type EDM or volume EDM, sinker EDM consists of an electrode and workpiece submerged in oil or another dielectric fluid.