Machining techniques have been almost constantly improved practically since the invention of the lathe. For anyone who manufactures components, the need to keep up with the latest technological advances in the industry is nothing short of essential. However, if you are more involved in product design or require only a one-off component to be produced, then it is likely that some of the more modern developments will be unknown to you. When appointing a contractor to do your machining for you, make sure that they are fully abreast of the latest machining techniques to ensure the results will be of an excellent standard.
Digital Drive Technology
Among the most important developments in high-speed machining are the highly precise guidance systems now in use. Many of the feed drives and spindles that are used by machining tools are driven by digital technology these days. This means that the traditional analogue inputs of levers and previously hand-machined guide components can be down away with. Computer numerical control (CNC) is now run almost entirely by digital drives, which are connected to the machining tool via high-speed digital buses. Digital control technology is used for things like CNC laser cutting and engraving. It can also be used for measuring systems to report the calibration and position of cutting components accurately.
Look Ahead Feed Rate Control Systems
A so-called look ahead function is used to identify any irregularities which might occur in the feed rate of block transitions and, in some systems, unwanted axis acceleration which might be caused by a pathway curvature, for example. The continual processing of NC files is needed for this sort of control system to work and their execution time must be shorter than the time allowed for ramping up and down. If so, then the machining speed is run with a programme buffer that allows for the work to be monitored in advance of any errors being made.
Highly Integrated Electronic Circuits
Known as ASICs, application specific electronic circuits are used in all sorts of modern CNC machines to provide a highly integrated union between software and firmware. Essentially, they enable the size of the control system to be minimised for highly accurate results. Since most CNC systems have their own control unit and a separate programmable controller, or PLC, for the operator, they should be rightly classified as top-notch multiprocessing machines which are able to run multiple algorithms simultaneously.