CNC or Computer Numerical Control is a system that allows the automation of machines through certain pre-programmed computer commands. In today’s world, the process of manufacturing has become highly automated. The design is created on Computer Aided Design (CAD) software, from where it is transferred to Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM) software.
The CAM software interprets the commands and transfers them to the machine is a specific sequence, which gives the desired product at the end of the manufacturing cycle.
The first NC (Numerical Control) machine was built in the 1940’s. At that point, it was based on existing tools that were used to modify and control processes with the help of motors. These soon adapted themselves to digital and analog signal, which gave birth to CNC machines, as we know it today.
The general CNC parts that are included in all CNC machines are:
- Input Devices
These devices are used to input data into the NC machines. These CNC parts are usually either punch tape reader or magnetic tape readers.
- Machine Control Unit
An MCU controls the machines and lets it work in a certain way. Some of the things it does include reading the coded instructions fed into it, interpolation and decoding the results. It implements auxiliary control functions and receives feedback signals.
- Machine tool
It is the tool that is controlled by the CNC mechanism.
- Driving System
The driving system consists of CNC parts which are amplifier circuits, drive motors and ball lead screws. It feeds signals into the machine that is being controlled.
- Feedback System
It consists of sensors that monitor the position and speed of the tool at every instant. Feedback system acts as a check to make sure that the process is continuing smoothly.
- Display Unit
This is a monitor used to display the commands and other data to humans.
CNC parts are extensively used to control different tools like lathe machines, water jet cutting machines, etc. They have been preferred over manually controlled machines as they give more accuracy and cleaner products for much less human effort.