The year 2020 was an interesting one for CNC manufacturing, with an incredible influx in demand due to countless industry improvements and transformations. Oddly enough, the COVID-19 pandemic ushered in numerous impromptu technological innovations, some of which have since been adopted permanently by the market.
As of this year, five components are now merging to create upward momentum in CNC machining:
1. Increased need for automation
2. Concerns about waste reduction
3. Stiffened global competition
4. Emerging product technologies
5. A sense of urgency
Projections promise even more opportunities for a well-trained and certified machinist. Operators, programmers, and engineers all stand to benefit in the coming years as well. In fact, there are at least five exciting trends about to sweep the CNC manufacturing market this year.
What are the top 5 CNC manufacturing market trends of 2021?
As it becomes more difficult to keep up with industry demands, CNC manufacturing is poised to provide solace over stress. For companies that can find, train, and retain qualified machinists, these are the top five trends they’ll most likely get to experience:
#1. Multi-Axis CNC Machining
According to predictions made by The Express Wire, multi-axis machining will soon become the best thing since sliced bread. So far, the industry is leading with 5-axis CNC capabilities. However, 6-axis machines have been getting more frequently used since their introduction back in 2019. Now because of reduced production times and enhanced precision, it stands to reason that the 2021 marketplace will feature countless products that are made with this revolutionary method.
PREDICTION: The 6-axis machines will ultimately become a standard for accurate CNC machining.
#2. Transformative CAM Software Updates
CAM, which stands for computer-aided manufacturing, is a vital part of precision CNC machining. It works alongside computer-aided design (CAD) software to create manufactured parts in a virtual system. Meanwhile, projected CAM software upgrades are expected to anticipate problems, remove common setbacks, and decrease the margin of error on extremely complex geometries. Combined with enhanced machinery and advanced training, updated machining software should prove beneficial to the industry for many reasons.
PREDICTION: Companies without high-tech manufacturing and design software will become obsolete.
#3. Increased Small Sector Demand
It looks like manufacturing for small sector businesses is about to explode as well. The sheer number of entrepreneurs competing with established companies is enough to drive change. But Manufacturing as a Service (MaaS) is gaining broader acceptance as it streamlines production with centralized machining locations, networked vendors, simplified order maintenance, and easier repairs.
MaaS also helps cut costs with more flexibility through each chain of command, thereby revolutionizing the way businesses using CNC machining.
PREDICTION: Industries without access to MaaS may pay more for the same service elsewhere.
#4. Large Industry Convergences
Major industries may increase their use of the same CNC machine shops for parts manufacturing projects, as more companies are projected to become AS9100 and ISO9001 certified in the coming years. Along with enhanced services such as expedited metal finishing, non-destructive testing (NDT), and upgraded or expanded inventories, industries such as automotive, aerospace, and medical are finally supported by capable and efficient providers. That, in turn, may cause certain industries to begin melding their ideas into revolutionary designs.
PREDICTION: High-accuracy CNC machining will become the backbone of modern society.
#5. One-Stop CNC Machine Shops
Because the major industries are now putting so much pressure on CNC machinists to produce accurate parts in record time, many facilities have started incorporating automation into the manufacturing process. Simplified machining is suddenly drawing in more business, allowing machine shops to fulfill complex orders more quickly while also collecting real-time data about efficacy, performance, and testing.
As a result, some facilities can now manage productivity and resources without either one directly impacting lead times.
PREDICTION: The year 2021 will reveal who’s who in modern-day CNC manufacturing.
Whether a client requires in-house CNC machining or outsourced suppliers, it doesn’t look like speed or efficiency are going to be problems for very much longer. As the manufacturing arena continues to become more technologically advanced and supported by intuitive, enthusiastic machinists, we’ll soon see the industry expand at a faster rate than it has in the last few decades.
Will automation kill the CNC manufacturing industry?
The CNC machining industry is clearly on its way to a much-needed rebirth despite all the integrated automation now sweeping facility floors. According to a report published by Mordor Intelligence, the current market is valued at over $7 billion USD.
At the same time, experts predict a market growth potential of at least 3.3% between now and 2026. Interestingly, that growth was partially attributed to the increased use of manufacturing automation.
Robots help CNC machine shops keep up with the market’s pace. The integrated sensors, updated software, and web-based connectivity allow machinists to produce precision components without creating such an enormous carbon footprint. In response, the market enjoys lowered production costs, raised quality, and futuristic efficiency.
Meanwhile, automation lets a shop’s team more closely monitor production rates, making it easier to catch mistakes and rework designs at any stage. As such, a highly-skilled tech-smart staff will be required to operate the various machines and CAD/CAM software interfaces used by a shop. And based on the most credible sources, it appears that human manufacturing specialists will become the factor that decides the fate of an innovative facility.
NOTE: A machine shop’s success in the coming year will be based on its ability to adopt these market changes without disrupting the flow at the facility. That means some shops won’t make it through the transition because they’ll struggle to expand in the right areas or at the right times.
Despite the unexpected upheavals of 2020, the year 2021 and beyond look promising for the CNC manufacturing market. Not only is there projected growth to look forward to, but there are also many changes coming to the way major industries create precision geometries in record time. We now understand the importance of being adaptable in the face of adversity.
As such, that has transformed how we view automated manufacturing in 2021. It has also encouraged us to practice stewardship by using superior software, state-of-the-art tooling techniques, and a tech-savvy staff with creative CNC machining solutions. So, for more information on how the future of manufacturing might affect your business, contact someone at Pioneer Cuts to talk shop.