When selecting Computer Numerical Control (CNC) controls, it can be easy to get lost in a sea of brand names, options, technology, and bells and whistles. Before getting disoriented among what can seem like an endless array of never-ending decisions and choices, it’s important to take a step back, recognize what you’re trying to achieve with a new CNC machine, and think about what features may benefit you the most.
Once you have this framework established, selecting the best CNC controls may be easier than you think.
Why CNC Machining Is So Valuable
CNC machining has become increasingly popular over the decades because it provides manufacturers a return on their investment in multiple ways.
- Non-stop production. One of the most valued aspects of CNC machining is that it can be done continuously. Aside from shutdowns when maintenance is required, CNC machining can be done 24 hours a day and 7 days a week.
- Consistency. CNC machining provides the ultimate in consistency. Parts can be replicated time and time again with no variations.
- Quality. Consistency can help lead to improved quality as relatively small adjustments can be made simply. High-quality equipment and the latest technology can lead to quality previously unmatched.
Once you determine the aspects of CNC machining that appeal to you most, it’s time to review popular features that can deliver value for your specific application, including selecting the right CNC controls.
The Most Sought after Features for CNC Controls
How do you decide what features of CNC controls are the most important? CNCCookbook decided to ask actual CNC users and compiled a survey of most popular features when it comes to CNC controls.
Understandably, the most popular feature of CNC controls in the survey was “Ease of Use” since CNC machines are supposed to make work more efficient. Usability was cited as the most significant factor and was mentioned by almost 30 percent of respondents. The fear of purchasing a piece of equipment that is challenging to operate is what often keeps companies from making decisions about purchasing a new CNC machine.
Following ease of use, “Power” and “Setup and Customizability” tied for second in the survey with 11.3 percent of respondents considering them important factors. Users obviously want CNC machining that has the power to get the job done, but they also want versatility and ease of setup.
Fourth on the list of priorities for CNC owners was “Cost” followed by “Support,” which came in fifth.
It is interesting to note that while price may be a top priority when initially thinking about purchasing a CNC machine, price moves down to fourth on the list during consideration. Once manufacturers begin to think about owning an actual machine, factors such as ease, customizability, and support become more important or nearly as important as cost.
What Can Be Learned from the CNC Controls Survey?
In review, according to the CNCCookbook survey, the top five priorities for owning a CNC machine, in order, are:
- Ease of Use
- Setup and Customizability
As it turns out, this is a pretty good template for those thinking about purchasing a CNC machine, and it is the type of approach we take here at L.K. Machinery, where we offer powerful CNC machines with a variety of options for CNC controls to maximize ease of use and customizability — all at a value-driven price with an incredible support package.
Putting L.K. Machinery on Your Side
At L.K. Machinery, we are largely control agnostic and take a needs-based approach to the selection and support of CNC machining equipment. But we tend to stick to CNC controls made by industry leading brands Allen-Bradley, Fanuc, Mitsubishi, and Siemens.
We understand that there can be a fear of the unknown in selecting new CNC equipment, and we actively seek to put those fears to rest by offering machines that are easier to use, have the power required, and are customizable to the needs of each particular client. We understand price concerns but also know the critical importance of service and support. We are here to facilitate the selection, set-up, training, and ongoing operation of your CNC machining solution.
L.K. Machinery has been a global leader in the manufacturing of precision die casting and injection molding equipment since 1983. During the past decade, we have expanded internationally, setting up offices worldwide, including our U.S. office in Holland, Mich., and expanding our machine offerings to include CNC machining centers.
Today, our CNC machine offerings include proven CNC drilling and tapping machines, vertical milling machines, horizontal machining centers, multi-pallet machine centers, and bridge mill machines, all of which can be equipped with a variety of CNC controls to fit your needs.
When deciding on how to address your CNC machining and control needs, we invite you to partner with a company that keeps your interests at the forefront. We encourage you to contact us at L.K. Machinery.