When it comes to developments in modern manufacturing technology, I think we can agree that the Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machine ranks right up there at the top.
And rightfully so.
These machines have allowed small and mid-sized manufacturers to stay competitive against the big guys by providing the means to exponentially increase productivity through automation and computerization. And with the resulting high precision products – manufactured at a quicker pace - CNC machines’ ever-expanding capabilities are raising the bar of what is possible.
So what will the future look like? Let’s take a look:
Mo’ Money. Mo’ Money.
CNC machines are increasingly cost-effective, which means more money in your pocket. AND they take cheap overseas labor out of the equation. The manufacturing companies using the latest CNC technology properly, with quality control and limited labor costs at the forefront, will see the coinciding increased profitability.
When we think of CNC machines, it may conjure up images of generally large machines that are immobile. It’s time to adjust that picture. Devices that are easily portable – most importantly, those that can interact with numerous other smaller devices on separate tasks – are becoming the new normal.
Many in the industry have expressed concern that with advancements in CNC machine capabilities related to knowledge-based machining processes, adaptive and closed loop machining and automated feature recognition, that programmer jobs may be at a premium in the future. Employment opportunities related to CNC machine troubleshooting, installation, repair and sales, to name a few may, however, be on the rise.
The 3D Effect
CNC 3D printers are the machines to watch - and adopt. They are putting manufacturing directly into the hands of businesses and consumers who use them for any variety of things from production of prototypes to custom tools.
Innovative in the Buy/Sell Experiences
As CNC machines continue to evolve, shouldn’t the buy/sell experience evolve as well? We at CNC Machines think so. Coming in 2018, CNC Machines will introduce an online platform that allows manufacturers to readily buy and sell their machines direct – without a broker – for the lowest after-sale fee in the industry. (Check back to CNCMachines.com for launch updates.)
In a nutshell, expect to see greater connectivity between CNC machines that do more and do it faster, and rely less on human operators. And look for dealers to devise innovative support services and offer an expert level of guidance to manufacturers so their CNC machine buying and selling experience is seamless and uncomplicated.
CNC machines will undoubtedly continue to increase the capabilities of small- and mid-sized manufacturers well into the future. In fact, I believe the most exciting advances are yet to come. And the biggest winners out there will be the manufacturers with the vision to foresee the possibilities these revolutionary machines can unlock.
About the author: Curt Doherty is the CEO of CNC Machine - an online platform that sells used CNC Machines to machine shops across the U.S. The Machines are inspected, refurbished and cleaned so they are like new while saving many machine shops up to 60% in retail pricing.