Lowering the cost of advanced CNC milling is essential to upholding and enhancing our vital economy. Being able to simultaneously harness precision and speed can help all industries thrive, especially the highly regulated sectors that must adhere to strict specifications. Not only do advanced milling techniques make it easier to churn out complex parts at a rapid pace, but they can also help reduce the operational costs inside a machine shop.
The primary goal of modern CNC machining is to transform various materials into fully finished and functional components. Meanwhile, milling methods generally allow for more customization, which means parts meet exact specifications regardless of the complexity of their design. Thus, the mere existence of some industries hinges on a shop’s ability to offer these advanced techniques. Moreover, the final price of said services usually depends on how equipped a shop is to handle large-scale manufacturing orders.
How Does a Milling Machine Work?
When it comes to CNC milling, range of motion is the name of the game. That measurement is what determines how each part gets processed. And usually, each process is supported by 2-, 3-, 4-, or 5-axis milling machines. Here’s a concise breakdown of what those axes can do:
- 2-Axis Machine – Building manual fixtures, limited repeatability
- 3-Axis Machine – Vertical milling, moderate repeatability
- 4-Axis Machine – Most commonly used, allows access to x, y, z, and b-axes with table rotation
- 5-Axis Machine – Specialty milling, allows access to additional a- and b-axes
CNC machinists operate these dangerous, heavy-duty milling machines to provide designers and engineers with an accurately machined part. Those parts are often used for a larger and more complex component, so the milled parts require exceptionally tight tolerances and a smooth finish. Unfinished castings are therefore not ideal for all projects, which is where advanced milling methods usually come into play.
What Can Advanced Milling Machines Do?
All milling rigs play an essential role in precision CNC machining, but advanced machines provide superior capabilities that can support sophisticated, innovative concepts. For example, a skilled machinist can complete bored holes, make complex drilled holes, and produce flat surfaces on a variety of different materials. Those machined materials are then used in countless applications for regulated industries such as automotive, aerospace, medical, firearms and defense, consumer electronics, and more.
CNC milling machines have two primary spindle orientations – vertical and horizontal. Vertical milling machines are ideal for high-volume projects that must be completed quickly. Horizontal machines, on the other hand, are best for completing multiple operations on one fixture. However, advanced milling machines that can handle both vertical and horizontal processes are integral in reducing operational costs.
How Does Advanced CNC Milling Reduce Operational Costs?
These incredible machines also let machinists combine operations and/or add additional processes to an existing one. In turn, that increases the part’s precision and functionality, thereby further eliminating wasted time, manpower, and resources. For example, the indexable heads on many advanced CNC milling machines make 90-degree turns much easier and smoother. Instead of the drill sticking straight out of the spindle, these refined rigs use different axes to create precision holes without forcing extra work on the machinist.
The more efficient workflow means better machining outcomes, shorter lead times, and fewer op-stops in between. That’s true even when working with hard, difficult materials like titanium or easily machinable materials like aluminum. In fact, these benefits are why many CNC experts view machine automation and multi-axis machining as the future of modern manufacturing.
One of the key components to their prediction is the reduction in labor costs. Even when compared to operations with multiple machines, wherein the metrics are finagled to favor that setup, multi-pallet milling machines always produce better, faster, and less expensive parts. So, the decreased need for those extra spindles and pallets ultimately equals a much lower price tag in most cases.
Factors That Affect the Price of Milling Services
Innovative CNC machine shops that offer advanced milling services must also have a well-thought-out plan to provide partners with these cost-effective solutions. Running the appropriate software programs is one example. But factors such as quality management, setup reduction processes, and machinist skill play a tremendous role as well.
With those elements in place, various machining concepts (despite their complexities) are possible regardless of the machine’s capabilities, location, or brand.
That’s because advanced milling rigs let experts perform numerous operations with extremely fine precision to fabricate intricate components at rapid speeds. That alone helps cut production costs, but if the processes are lead by skilled experts using high-quality CNC milling machines, the price goes down even more.
Interestingly, the case remains the same whether a shop is capable of small-scale or large-scale production. However, the larger and more advanced a system is, the more operations it can handle. That means large milling machines with enhanced control software are better equipped to complete complex orders big or small, plus the entire shebang produces a safer, less wasteful environment on the shop floor and beyond.
Advanced CNC Milling for Less Money
Superior CNC milling machines are specifically designed to produce precision parts and components through complex operations, usually on a set and repeatable schedule. Meanwhile, it’s relatively easy to restart the milling process after making required modifications and/or troubleshooting.
So, it’s important to integrate sophisticated machining if you want to cut down on the wasted time, money, and resources involved with using less advanced rigs.
Let Pioneer Cuts help you figure out how to save money on advanced CNC milling services. Get a quick 6-hour project quote then discuss the details with your machining team to further reduce the price. Speed up production, ensure precision repeatability, and adhere to strict industry standards the entire time.
For more information on how advanced CNC milling machines can help reduce operational costs and increase efficiency, talk to one of our experts.