What Is A Computer Numerical Control System?

Computer Numerical Control (CNC) is a smart multi-axis, multi-function, coordinated motion control system used for precision contouring, and CNCs can work with a variety of materials in a wide range of industries. The largest customers for CNCs are machine builders, but end users also purchase CNCs, often based on different criteria. 

Machine tool manufacturers that are not aiming at only one end user market are better positioned when downturns in end user industries impact the demand for new machine tools. Automotive is the biggest customer of machine tools, but the industry also often reacts heavily during economic crises. The aerospace & defense industry is not as volatile to market dynamics, because projects usually last over a decade, which results in more stability in strategic planning and equipment expenditures.

The electronics and furniture fabrication industries also use machine tools. While electronics usually have investment cycles that are dependent on new technologies, the furniture fabrication industry applies machine tools to increase output volumes and offer new products.

Offering smaller footprint machinery while providing big capacity, productivity, and user flexibility is a key strategy to enter new markets such as in the electronics industry or medical equipment manufacturing. Often, they are multi-billion-dollar companies with huge plants, where the reduction of space is important for these companies, and a reduced footprint of machines is a significant selling point.

OPC UA has become a technology of choice for linking to a cloud platform, and most suppliers and OEMs support this protocol. There is already a wide range of products out there that supports it, including barcode readers.

Virtualization with digital twins enables the OEM to provide complete information about the whole production process before the machine is commissioned to the end users. Commissioning time is reduced to a minimum, with few or no substandard products.

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