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The CNC Family

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					The CNC Family

You might have not heard of the CNC before, or what it does, or how it
makes lofty manufacturing operations a lot easier. However, CNC machining
is dubbed as one of the most important factors of most production
processes. The common tasks CNCs machines usually perform are drilling
holes, tool changing, cooling and lubrication of separate factory
machines at the same time.

Let’s start with a brief introduction. CNC stands for Computer Numerical
Control and it has been around since the early 1970’s. Before it was
christened CNC, it was called NC, for Numerical Control. When computers
were introduced during 1070’s, the name changed. It has stroked almost
all manufacturing forms in almost all stages of production. CNC machines
either substitute some existing manufacturing processes or combine work
with them.

A CNC program is just any other set of instructions. It’s written like a
sentence and the order of operation is chronological. The machine will
then execute that set of instructions step-by-step. A special series of
CNC words/codes are used to relay what the machine is supposed to do. CNC
codes begin with letter addresses (like S for spindle speed, and X, Y & Z
for common linear axis motions).

When certain codes are arranged together in a coherent method, this group
of CNC codes create a “command” that is like a sentence. A common CNC
machine will only be needing around 40-50 words/codes to program
different commands. See, it’s not very difficult to learn.

Although CNC sounds very independent and do-it-all, there are a few words
that you need to know to fully understand CNC operations.

THE CAM

CAM stands for Computer Aided Manufacturing. It simplifies the
programming processes which are new, and added to the CNC program
regularly. Of course, the easy applications can be programmed with only
the simplest machines around: the pen, paper and calculator. However,
more complex programs are vital regularly. It is when composing these
programs become much more tricky and (worse) tedious.

The CAM is a program that runs on a computer that aids the CNC programmer
with the programming. It also works hand-in-hand with the CAD (Computer
Aided Design) design drawing (those designs engineers compose/nurture).
With the CAM helping, redefinition of the work-piece configuration is not
needed. What the CNC programmer is left to do is just to specify the
machine operations to be executed and the CAM system will compose the CNC
program automatically. Thanks to CAM, programming tediousness will not be
a problem to the CNC programmer again.

THE DNC SYSTEM

DNC stands for Distributive Numerical Control. It is a computer that is
connected with one or more CNC machines, forming a network. When a
program is manually composed and ready to be loaded to the CNC control,
it is being typed right into the control. However, this is like using the
CNC machine as a luxurious keyboard.

Moreover, if the CNC program is achieved with the help of CAM, it is
already in text form and ready to be loaded to the CNC control. The DNC
simply distributes the CNC program to more than one CNC machine. Lately,
the newest controls are more advanced in terms of networking capabilities
and can be networked with, say, the Ethernet.

If it’s your first time to read and learn about the CNC, it may sound so
mighty and ubiquitous. It’s about time you learn they also need help from
some programming friends such as the CAM and the DNC. No man is an
island; but hey, neither are CNC machines.

				
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