CNC Mill – How it Works & Advantages

If you’re a machinist or someone looking to open their parts manufacturing plant, then you may have already come across CNC milling. It is the machine that can automate the process and make your life a lot easier.

However, it might not be for everyone, you need to understand how the CNC mill works, and what its benefits are before deciding whether to buy one or not. That said, let’s dive right in:

So, What Does CNC Milling Do?

With the help of a CNC mill, you can transform a regular casting into a workable part that can be used in a larger product. These parts need to have greater tolerances, which the raw castings don’t have – they need to go through the machining process to have that tolerance. Here are the top three things done on CNC mills:

  • Creating Flat Surfaces: It puts a flat surface on the workpiece and creates a finished sealed surface without any risk of leakages.
  • Drilling Holes: As the name suggests, the casting is drilled holes into it and with tapping, threads are added – the most typical way to put together parts.
  • Boring Holes: If an existing hole needs to be enlarged, a stiff boring bar does the job using a single point tool for cutting that creates an accurate inner cavity in the workpiece With the help of boring, parts can be assembled very tightly.

A typical milling process usually includes the following steps:

  1. Creating parts designs in CAD
  2. Converting and formatting those CAD files into machine code
  3. Setting up the right machine with right axis options
  4. Letting the machine do its job and produce the parts
How Does CNC Mill Works?

The key factor in deciding how your mill is going to work or what the precision of the CNC mill will be for your project is its 3-5 axis milling options. Let’s discuss them below:

  • 2-Axis Machine: Although not very popular, it’s still used by many for building manual fixtures. It only moves on the X & Y axes and doesn’t repeat much.
  • 3-Axis Machine: Mostly leveraged for vertical milling, moves on all three axes – x, y & z.
  • 4- Axis Machine: This is the most commonly found machine in the CNC milling shop. It moves on the X, Y, & Z axes along with an additional B axis. This allows the table to rotate providing access around the workpiece.
  • 5-Axis Machine: This is the one with most angles as it offers x, y, & z along with additional B and A axes. These are specialty CNC milling machines and if you need the most precision in a CNC mill, 5-axis is your go-to machine.

The most commonly used ones are from 3-5 axis milling machines with the last one being the most accurate so it’s not recommended for high volume work.

Vertical & Horizontal CNC Mill – What’s the Difference?

There are two kinds of spindle orientations in the realm of CNC machines. The first one is vertical where the spindle axis, known as the z-axis leans vertically. In its c-column configuration, you will see the spindle move in the z-axis direction and the table holding workpiece will move in x and y axes in horizontal directions. The best part of using vertical CNC milling machines is they are the best fit for high-volume work where on-site milling is needed such as brackets and covers and their deadlines are closing with speed.

The horizontal CNC mills are opposite to what we discussed above. They have a horizontally oriented z-axis, which is usually paralleled to the machine’s length. The spindle moves on the vertical y-axis and when it goes horizontal, it moves along the x-axis.  The fixtures and pallets hold the workpiece in place and move in the z-axis while b-axis rotates. There are several benefits of horizontal machining such as the ability to access the machine from 4 sides, milling more complex parts, better evacuation of chips, and completing multiple tasks on a single fixture.

Advantages of Using CNC Mill:
  • There are various reasons why many machinists opt for CNC milling instead of the manual one, let’s have a look at them below:
  • The milling cutter is sort of a multi-touch took with each of its teeth participates intermittently in the work resulting in excellent cooling for the cutting tool, improved speed, higher durability, and better productivity.
  • It can almost take place of the planner because CNC mill has the ability to produce a broader range of products
  • If you need mass production and fast prototyping, CNC milling is perfect for you
  • You can produce thousands of milling parts in a very short time
  • With the high precision of the CNC mill, repeatability is very accurate. You can produce thousands of parts with the exact specifications
  • Numerical computer-based control that confirms the precision of final workpiece result
  • It is highly automated so that means you don’t need a large number of operators and labor to make it work, which reduces the cost
  • With 3-5 axis milling, you can create complex designs, specifications, geometries, and much more
  • CNC milling parts processing have great flexibility and adaptability
Some Caveats of CNC Milling:
  • The machine itself and the setup cost is more expensive than its manual counterparts
  • You need to have properly trained workers to operate the machine, small mistakes can result in big losses
  • Might not be very cost-efficient for small batches of products, but you will save a lot of money if producing a large number of the same products
Parting Words:

There is no doubt these automated machines have eliminated the need for hiring a big staff to take care of everything thing. Plus, the production time is reduced as CNC milling can be done faster than manual machine working.

However, it needs to have a design in CAD, which will be translated into the machine’s language, this can take a little bit of time. So if you are making mass batches of the same design, the CNC mill is perfect for you.

Benefits of CNC Lathe Machining & How To Choose the Right One?

If you are stepping your toe into the vast sea of CNC machines and have decided to go for lathe then there are a lot of things to know. Firstly, what are some of the main advantages you can get with a CNC lathe machine instead of a manual one?

Secondly, knowing the main types of CNC lathe machining and how to choose the right one will save you a world of pain. So if you’re ready to know every important detail about selecting and buying CNC lathe machines, read on.

Benefits of Using CNC Lathe Machining:
  • Fully Automated: Since CNC operates on computer language, you don’t need a human telling it what to do by moving its spindles around. You can produce hundreds or even thousands of similar dimensions with just one design. Once the design made from CAD software is put inside the machine, you don’t need to supervise it, the machine will keep producing the same design.
  • Versatility: The automated CNC machines are very versatile, they can produce almost any type of part or product, from furniture pieces to auto parts to delicate crockery and delicate lamps, everything can be made using them right inside your CNC lathe shop.
  • Excellent Accuracy: When manual labor is involved, there is a chance of them not producing the same thing every single time – the accuracy will suffer a little. This is not the problem with the CNC lathe. There is 2 to 9 axis in CNC lathe machines that you can use to carve out the same designs everything Just programs its machine to do what you want and it’ll do just that.
  • High Cost Efficiency: Although the setup cost can be a little high than its manual counterpart, it’s a one-time expense. After that, you will save money on hiring labor to manage it because it’s mostly automated. Plus, by producing parts with 20x efficiency, you’ll recoup the investment pretty quickly.
CNC Lathe Types:

There are mainly two types of these machines, whether it’s a CNC metal lathe or any other material-based. The first one is vertical where the workpiece rotates in more of an upright position just like the movement of a pottery wheel. This allows the spindle to reach and cut unreachable positions and angles. This kind of machine is used on bulky and heavy materials that are so big that cranes are used to load them.

The horizontal ones are the typical CNC lathe shop machines as they’re commonly found in workshops. They rotate the workpiece cylindrically and while it rotates, the machine operates on it using different tools to give it desired (programmed) shape and design. The chuck in these holds materials vertically and these machines are typically needed for lighter workpieces.

Choosing the Right Machine for Your CNC Lathe Shop:

Machine Weight:

The weight plays an integral part in your hunt for a CNC lathe machine because if it is on the heavier side, it means it will bear the rigorous bumps and vibrations produced during the production.

A lightweight machine will have higher chances of breaking down and it can also quickly get out of balance impacting your output. Look for the machine made of cast iron, they are very durable.

Bed & Swing Measurement:

A machine’s swing measurement is the max diameter amount of material that can be designed or cut on the lathe. The measurement starts from the machine’s bed to the center of its spindle. The measurement of the bed is the max length a workpiece can have to be used in a lathe machine.

Know the type of parts and materials you’ll be designing and producing and get the bed and swing size accordingly.

Types of Stand Storage:

The base of the whole CNC lathe machine is its stand. If you are searching for a table-top kind of lathe then you don’t need to pay attention to the stand but if you’ll be working on bigger projects, you’ll have to be extremely careful regarding the stand’s design.

Since the lathe machine experiences a lot of disturbances and vibrations when working on a material (metal especially), it should have a stand that can absorb these shocks. Having a tool storage box in the lathe machine will also help as you can add some weight inside it to stabilize the machine.

Bed & Headstock:

Any CNC lathe machine usually has a bed that’s made from cast iron and is connected with the headstock in such a way that the tailstock and tool carriage work side by side with the spindle’s axis. When you’re getting a machine, whether a CNC metal lathe or any other for your CNC lathe shop, ensure the bed has high durability because most of the operations will rely on it.

Next, make sure the headstock of your CNC lathe is made from cast iron, which will give more rigidity to the whole machine. Also, the headstock spindle is one of the main parts of the headstock that rotates the piece so we can call it the heart of the entire operation. Make sure to pay close attention when choosing a spindle.

Drive & Motor:

Depending on the kind of lathe motor you get for your machine, the final output will be either too good, average, or poor. If you are just stepping foot into the world of lathes, pay close attention to its motor.

If you have a small operation, you can select the motor having as low as 1/3 horsepower. Do not compromise on the quality of your lathe machine’s motor otherwise, it can quickly break down, making you spend money on repairs or replacement.

Parting Words:

There’s no doubt CNC lathe shop can do wonders when it comes to pumping out batches of the same design without much supervision. However, it is also an expensive machine and if you make even a small mistake in getting things right, you can end up losing some money.

So make sure to first assess your needs, the kind of materials you’ll be working with, and the type of products you’ll be making, and then select the machine accordingly.

Understanding Swiss Screw Machines

Swiss Machine

HISTORY OF SWISS MACHINING

The first-ever Swiss Screw machine was developed in Switzerland back in the 19th century. This machine quickly made its mark as the premier lathe for the production of small and complex parts.

Swiss machines differ quite a bit from conventional lathes, as Swiss machines move the bar stock through a bushing using a sliding headstock. The headstock moves the material forward and backward, exposing only the portion of the material being machined.

When it comes to utilizing the gang tool and guide bushing, it provides close proximity to the cutting device to the material being cut, minimizing deflection and delivering an increased precision while holding tight tolerances. As with other machining processes like lathes and mills, the Swiss CAM automatic machine has led CNC Swiss machines to better-streamlined automation.

WHAT’S THE ADVANTAGES IN A SWISS PRECISION MACHINE?

PRODUCTIVITY

Currently, the Swiss Screw machines in use will rely on a computer numerical control (CNC) unit to process the parts designed to meet specifications by following a coded, programmed instruction without a manual operator.

With room for over 20 different tools and the ability to perform multiple operations concurrently, complex parts can now be completed in one operation on the machine as opposed to multiple operations that traditional lathes requiring.

CNC Swiss machining also offers the capabilities for a secondary process such as milling, slotting, cross-tapping, and cross-drilling, and eliminating the need for any additional machining once the parts that are turned come off the machine.

HIGHER VERSATILITY

Swiss machines usually work in diameters under 1 ¼” and, with the majority of work that is performed is smaller than ¾”, but they also excel at producing tons of different parts with lengths greater than the diameter. The ability to make slender, more extended parts while reducing deflection is a huge benefit to running those larger length-to-diameter parts on a Swiss machine.

LARGER COST SAVINGS

The new Swiss machines required smaller work-pieces, which allows you to use a smaller bar stock. The lower cost of these materials turns into lower overall production costs, all without sacrificing any product quality.

The Swiss machines can now achieve greater accuracy and precision, even in complex and intricate designs. With a good bar stock quality, the swiss machine will allow for tight tolerance, often eliminating the need for any outside grinding service. Additionally, once your machine has been set up and provisioned, you will notice that some parts will allow for an unmanned runtime; this will increase your labor efficiency in the shop while cutting down lead times for your customers.

APPLICATIONS USES OF SWISS MACHINES

Swiss WatchesThe machines were originally created a long time ago to manufacture screws for the watchmakers and their industry; over time, machines have evolved across multiple industries. While these machines still create parts for high-end watchmakers, they also can be found making screws for a range of applications, including:

  • Medical components
  • Industrial components
  • Aerospace and defense industries
  • Components for musical instruments

With the ability to machine many different types of metals with tight dimensional tolerances, there is next to nothing that the Swiss machines cannot do when it comes to machining parts.

WHAT MATERIALS ARE USED IN SWISS MACHINING?

A swiss machine can employ a variety of materials depending on the specifications required from the components. These range from common materials like exotic alloys:

  • Aluminum
  • Brass
  • Bronze
  • Carbon Steel
  • Copper
  • Plastics
  • Stainless Steel
  • Steel
  • Tool Steel
  • Titanium
  • Exotic Alloys

TYPES OF SWISS SCREW MACHINES

Swiss screw machineThere are a few types of swiss machines on the market today.

Swiss- and Turret-Style Machines

The Turret-type screw machine produces very similar results to the Swiss-style machines. One advantage of the new CNC Swiss screw machine is that many more tooling fixtures can now be applied, and, despite screw machines typically being “single spindle,” the possibility is also thereof using it as a double spindle machine. This time-saving feature effectively cuts out the operator.

This part is automatically transferred from the screw machine to another machine for the secondary operation saving in labor cost for which an operator would generally have to be there to complete. Turret-style screw machines also come equipped with a transfer attachment that can also perform this function for you.

The Turret type, also known as Brown & Sharpe, named after its first manufacturer, mounts the work-piece on a vertical ram, which works into the lathe. The Swiss-type was originally named after its place of origin where swiss watchmakers used it for precision components, mounts the work-piece on a rotary slide. While these two types function differently, their benefits and output are essentially the same, although the Swiss screw machine is better at more precise work.

CNC Swiss Machine – Applications

The other is Computer Numerically Controlled (CNC) machines, and these use a CNC unit to control all of the tools, which allows parts to be made to exact specifications.

The CNC Swiss screw machine, which is also known as CNC lathes, can work on multiple axes for fast results. Both machines, automatic and CNC driven, will take some time to configure but are cost-effective when producing various parts in volume. They are not typically the ideal solution for your small one-off prototyping. However, because of the variety of metals they can work with, they are a great choice when it comes to creating parts from different types of metals.

Benefits of the CNC Swiss Machine

When it comes to the CNC machines, they offer a level of control that may not be possible with a standard automatic Swiss screw machine. The CNC unit allows the use of tools on multiple axes, allowing more tooling for both milling and turning. Cycle times of the machines are reduced, and more detailed parts can be created with the use of the abilities provided by the CNC machines.

Operations can be performed in a shorter period when using a CNC Swiss machine. This screw machine can rotate parts at up to 10,000 RPM with an accuracy level ranging between 0.0002 to 0.0005 inches. In addition to being extremely precise, the CNC Swiss lathe also reduces waste and gives more flexibility when machining a specific part.

Swiss machining is a viable manufacturing process for many industrial application needs. Compared to traditional turning processes, it offers greater precision, versatility, productivity, and cost-effectiveness.

Screw machines are automated lathes that are used to machine turned parts. The appellation “screw machine” might be misleading, as they don’t screw anything in, nor do they thread materials, although this is one of their functions. Basically, the machine components by spinning on a very quickly rotating lathe, which shaves the metal down to the desired size.

With over two decades of experience, we have the knowledge, skills, and tools to fulfill any CNC Swiss precision turning need. To learn more about our services and capabilities, contact us today for pricing details.

If you are looking for a partner for your next Swiss machining project, turn to the experts at Salco Global.

Understanding AS9100D

AS9100D

 

Salco is thrilled to have received the AS9100D certification in February 2019. This latest certification applies to our Denver facility. It symbolizes Salco's dedication to continuous improvement and the desire to exceed any customer quality expectations.

What is AS9100?

The term AS9100 is an aerospace Quality Management System (QMS) standard. This is based on the international QMS standard ISO 9001 and provides additional requirements directly specific to the aerospace industry.

This sector is governed by the FAA, space, and defense regulations. Having an AS9100 QMS, it is used to help businesses adapt to the evolving needs and demanding requirements put in place by the aerospace industry.

Not only does it provide a needed framework for businesses to operate by, but it also provides your customers with confidence about the quality and reliability of the products they purchase from your company.

What is AS9100 Rev D?

The international QMS standards are updated often in order to stay relevant to the industry needs and also adapts to emerging trends. The most recent update that went from Rev C to Rev D of the AS9100 was released back in September 2016, and companies were given until September 2018 to transition to the new Rev D standard.

The revision also coincides with the AS9100 standard's newest revision of ISO 9001 released back in 2015. The current version of AS9100 Rev D emphasizes companies creating value for their customers by integrating the QMS requirements into their business processes.

In this latest update, the major revision areas pertain to product safety, risk management, counterfeit prevention, configuration management, and human factors.

Salco's commitment to quality

Salco was first added to the AS9100 certification, and it's the list of quality certifications back in 2007 to help support the dynamic needs of the aerospace industry and the customers served, like Boeing.

Salco underwent an extensive upgrade audit at its manufacturing location to obtain the AS9100 Rev D certification. Conforming to the new revision of the AS9100D represents our compliance with the most current requirements based on the aerospace standards.

Conformance to these standards in place helps to ensure that Salco maintains the highest quality products and process control in our manufacturing facility.

The AS9100d standard also includes the ISO 9001, the quality management system requirements that define additional aviation, defense, and space industry requirements, descriptions, and notes.

The requirements are specified in the standards and are complementary (not alternative) to the customer and applicable statutory and regulatory requirements.

If there becomes a conflict between the customer and the standard's requirements, the regulatory requirements, or the applicable statutory, the latter shall take precedence.

The International Standard is set to layout the requirements for a quality management system and is defended as when an organization:

a. needs to show its ability to consistently provide products and services designed to meet the customer and any applicable statutory and or any regulatory requirements, and

b. aims to increase the overall customer satisfaction through a practical application system; this includes improving the system and the assurance of conformity regarding the customer and applicable statutory and any regulatory requirements.

The requirements of the International Standards are designed to be generic and are intended to be applied within any organization, regardless of its size or type of products or services they provide.

ISO 9001 – What is it and why is it so important?

What is ISO 9001?

ISO 9001 is recognized as the international standard for creating "Quality Management Systems" (QMS). This was created by the ISO (the International Organization for Standardization).

This well-known standard had its most recent updated back in 2015 and is now referred to as the 9001:2015 version of the ISO. For this version to be updated and made effective, it first had to have been approved by most member countries to be known as the current updated to the internationally recognized standard.

What is quality management systems?

According to the ISO definition, quality management systems are the standard in which a company's QMS requirements are defined. This system creates the processes, policies, and procedures necessary to provide products and services designed to meet customer and regulatory demands and improve overall customer satisfaction.

Quality management systems are the foundation of any quality assurance activity.

Why is it critical to have?

ISO 9001:2015 is known internationally as the recognized standard for creating, implementing, and maintaining a company's quality management system.

This standard was designed to be used by companies, no matter their size or industry. As the international standard, 9001 is recognized as the basis behind any company that wants to create a system that is designed to ensure customer satisfaction. As such, many corporations today require this certification from their suppliers.

Having the certification provides your customers the needed reassurance saying you have implemented a Quality Management System in place that is created on the seven quality management principles.

This certification is such an influential and essential industry standard that industry groups often use parts or all of the 9001 standards, such as the ISO 13485 for the medical devices industry, the AS9100 for the aerospace industry, and the AITF 16949 for the automotive industry are just a few examples.

A recent survey performed in 2017 for ISO certifications under 900 1 showed that, despite the global recession, the total number of companies that have implemented the ISO 9001 standard is still growing worldwide.

What is the current ISO 9001 standard?

The current ISO version is 9001:2015. The ISO 9001 2015 standard is often called ISO 9001 revision 2015. This version was released back in October 2015 and replaced any of the previous revision ISO 9001:2008.

This update includes many of the processes from the previous revisions to the ISO standard, with a greater emphasis on understanding the context of the organization and risk-based thinking.

Is ISO 9001 worth it?

The benefits behind having the certification cannot be overstated; companies of all sizes have used the standard to significant effect, securing cost savings and additional revenue.

Here are just a few of these benefits:

Improve your image and credibility – If your customers see that a recognized certification body has certified you, it will show them that you have implemented a system focused on meeting customer requirements and improvement.

This will improve their trust that you will deliver what you have promised, and it will help you get new clients.

Improve customer satisfaction – One of the main principles behind the ISO 9001 QMS is the concept of improving customer satisfaction by identifying and meeting customer needs and requirements. By providing this, you will grow your repeat business.

Fully integrated processes – By using the ISO, you look at the individual functions within your organization, but you also interact with those processes. By doing this, you will discover areas for improvement and savings within your organization.

Use of evidence-based decision making – Ensuring that you and your team are making decisions based on factual evidence is key to success. Ensuring that your choices are based on accurate information will help you target the resources to correct any problems and improve your organizational efficiency and effectiveness in a timely manner.

Create a culture of continual improvements – With ongoing continual modifications as the main output of the QMS, you can saving time, money, and other resources. By making this the culture behind your company, you can focus on your workforce by improving the processes that they are directly responsible for.

Is ISO 9001 a legal requirement?

No, there are no legal requirements, even though the certification is a requirement for many contracts. There are even awards, such as the Malcolm Baldridge National Quality Award.

Click here to view our proud certification

What Exactly is Metrology

Metrology is defined by the International Bureau of Weights and Measures (BIPM) as “the science of measurement, embracing both experimental and theoretical determinations at any level of uncertainty in any field of science and technology”.

Metrology is how companies guarantee certain comparisons of global measurement results. As an example, metrology is used to help ensure that the parts in the vehicles we drive are accurately and precisely measured, manufactured, and assembled despite the different manufacturing processes language barriers, and measurement systems (such as US and metric) that are used by the manufacturers.

Metrology also incorporates precision measuring tools like the coordinate measuring machines (CMMs) also the precision measurement sensors.

Globally Standardizing Precision Machined Parts
Today’s global supply chains are using the international measuring standards to help precisely manufacture, distribution, and assembly machined parts through out the world.

All different types of factories from different countries can precisely machine identical parts from CAD or drawings. Each manufacturer’s measuring instrument is calibrated with the same specific thresholds.

These calibrations are designed to ensure that all of the parts created will fit together and work as they were intended to. After the calibration phase is over, the production machines are then set and the quality assurance and controls are confirmed.

Types of Metrology Equipment
A coordinate measuring machine is a system that measures the testing product by combining a probe with the coordinate system to measure the geometric physical points of the product.

In addition to accurate measurements, CMMs have the advantage of providing real-time information on the condition of the manufacturing process to the CMM operator. All global CMMs must comply with the ISO 10360 international measurement standards and can be controlled by either an operator or a computer. Five major types of CMMs are used in today’s metrology:

Cantilever:
This is used primarily for measuring master parts.

Bridge:
Most popular with digitizing and scanning jobs for the mold, stamping, and machining markets.

Gantry:
Used for measuring heavy, large parts such as large dies and molds.

Horizontal Arm:
This is used to measure parts in industries such as defense, aerospace, and appliances.

Portable (PCMM):
Handheld 3D and geometric tolerance and dimensioning measurements which can also be ISO 10360-certified.

Touch-trigger:
Touch-trigger probes are the most commonly used type of probe in metrology because they remove touch bias and can be used with computer control.

There are also two major groupings of probes: contact and non-contact. Contact or tactile probes include:

Hand Probes:
Hand probes are designed to measure curved surfaces, but one must watch out for tactile differences that can be caused by the operators.

Touch-Trigger Probes:
This is the most popular type of probes. It simply removes touch bias and can be used by direct computer control.

Analog Probes:
Use CAS technology to measure irregular shapes and contorted surfaces, like sheet metal. Non-contact probes are used for large, complex geometric, flexible parts. They include:

Laser Probes:
Laser probes are a triangulation with a beam of light designed for high-speed component measurements.

Vision Probes:
Vision Probes are designed for high-speed measurements of small, 2D parts with images taken from a camera.

As previously noted, manufacturers from all over the world need to meet or exceed the set specified tolerances of each item tested so they will fit and work exactly as they were designed to.

This quality assurance covers components manufactured from medical devices to rocket engines and everything in-between. In fact, precision measurement technology is used to ensure the quality assurance of measurements up to one-thousandth of a millimeter.