The Basics Of Computer Numerical Control
Today, computer numerical control (CNC) machines are found almosteverywhere, from small job shops in rural communities to Fortune 500 companiesin large urban areas. Truly, there is hardly a facet of manufacturing that isnot in some way touched by what these innovative machine tools can do.
Everyone involved in the manufacturing environment should be well aware ofwhat is possible with these sophisticated machine tools. The design engineer,for example, must possess enough knowledge of CNC to perfect dimensioning andtolerancing techniques for workpieces to be machined on CNC machines. The toolengineer must understand CNC in order to design fixtures and cutting tools foruse with CNC machines. Quality control people should understand the CNC machinetools used within their company in order to plan quality control andstatistical process control accordingly. Production control personnel should beabreast of their company's CNC technology in order to make realistic productionschedules. Managers, foremen, and team leaders should understand CNC wellenough to communicate intelligently with fellow workers. And, it goes withoutsaying that CNC programmers, setup people, operators, and others workingdirectly with the CNC equipment must have an extremely good understanding ofCNC.
In this presentation, we will explore the basics of CNC, showing you much ofwhat is involved with using these sophisticated machine tools. Our primary goalwill be to teach you how to learn about CNC. For readers who will eventually beworking directly with CNC machine tools, we will show you the basics of eachmajor CNC function. Additionally, we will make suggestions as to how you canlearn more about each CNC function as it applies to your particular CNCmachine/s. At the completion of this presentation, you should have a goodunderstanding of how and why CNC functions as it does and know those things youmust learn more about in order to work with any style of CNC machine tool.
For readers who are not going to be working directly with CNC equipment inthe near future, our secondary goal will be to give you a good workingknowledge of CNC technology. At the completion of this presentation, you shouldbe quite comfortable with the fundamentals of CNC and be able to communicateintelligently with others in your company about your CNC machine tools.
To proceed in an organized manner, we will be using a key concepts approachto all presentations. All important functions of CNC are organized into ten keyconcepts (We'll show five of the ten key concepts in this presentation. Allfive are related to programming). Think of it this way. If you can understandten basic principles, you are well on your way to becoming proficient with CNC.While our main focus will be for the two most popular forms of CNC machinetools (machining centers and turning centers), these ten key concepts can beapplied to virtually any kind of CNC machine, making it easy to adapt to anyform of CNC equipment. With so many types of CNC machine tools in existence, itis next to impossible for this presentation to be extremely specific about anyone particular type. The key concepts allow us to view the main features of CNCin more general terms, stressing why things are handled the way they are evenmore than the specific techniques used with any one particular CNC machinetool.
With the broad background we give, you should be able to easily zero in onany kind of CNC machine tool you will be working with. As yet a third goal,this presentation should help instructors of CNC. The key concepts approach weshow has been proven time and time again during live presentations in CNCcourses. This method of presentation will help instructors organize CNC intoextremely logical and easy to understand lessons.