When buying a CNC, what should I consider?
Dear Control Engineering: If I’m buying a new machine with CNC controls or retrofitting an old one, what are some of the questions I should ask prospective vendors?
When selecting a CNC, consider faster program processing, easier integration and use, customization capabilities, and tooling speed. Also look at CAM integration, volumetric error compensation, CNC/IT integration, motion system connectivity, simpler integration, setup, use, maintenance, and human-machine interface standardization.
Prior to selecting your next CNC machine, see the following checklist based on information from CNC manufacturers.
1) What’s your industry? Are there specific needs for your application? High-production markets, such as aerospace, automotive, and medical, may have different needs from others, such as wood, marble, glass, presses, grinding, cutting, or forming.
2) What types of machines will you use? Dedicated turning and milling machines may have different needs than complex 5-axis, multi-spindle, and extended bed gantry machining centers. Needs may differ for prismatic part production, mold and die work, lathes, and other areas in the machine tool industry.
3) What kind of facility are you in? Contract manufacturer needs may differ from those of a small job shop, for instance.
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