The Evolution of CNC Machining

The Evolution of CNC Machining

Let’s dive into a little history of this industry and the evolution of CNC Machining.

First off, Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machines are computer-programmed cutting machines. They work on tough materials like metals (steel, brass, aluminum, etc.) and plastic. Some studies show advances in technology go hand in hand with the evolution of CNC machines. Although machines started as simple, punch-tape-controlled devices, they have advanced into semi-automated apparatuses utilizing multiple axes. 

Early NC Machines 

Taking a look at an excerpt published by American Micro Industries shows the first Numerical Control (NC) machine was unveiled in the 1940s. It used ‘punch tape’ to redirect the movement of tools. Back then, computers were at a beginning stage of development.

Engineers used the NC machines to boost the production of armory and equipment during World War II. Following that, the first controller with transistor technology was introduced in 1960. It was followed by Direct Numerical Controlled (DNC) machines, which eliminated paper tape punch programs. 

Modern CNC Machining and Technology 

Diving into the recent history of CNC technology, we reveal critical milestones. A large one was when the Graphics-based computer application was developed in the 1980s. This led to the release of Computer-Aided Manufacturing (CMA) and Computer-Aided Design (CAD) systems at the end of the decade. In 1997, the Open Modular Architecture Control (OMAC) system based on Windows PC was introduced as a replacement for firmware controllers because of these advances. 

Even with the advances, skilled engineers continue to oversee the operations of modern CNC machines. 3D computer programs are now used to design prototypes, and the plans in the computer can be easily altered as needed before mass production ensues. Modern CNC is more efficient, fast, and able to multitask. The next phase of CNC machining is likely to witness synchronization of multiple CNC machines and optimization of specific materials.

Contact Us for Your Machining Needs

Nowadays, CNC machine shops are embracing technologies. Some of these are close tolerance machining, 3D printing, and laser engraving. At Ricaurte Precision Inc. we are an AS9100 & ISO 9001:2015 certified CNC machine shop. We’ve been operating for more than 30 years, serving a variety of industries – including aerospace. To learn about our systems and benefits, book a free consultation today.