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By Peter Vermeeren
The operators of the present-day CNC cutting machine demonstrate many of the same skills as those possessed by various traditional craftsmen. The operators of the CNC cutting machine include the men and women who design and make cabinets, woodwork, signs, and a whole range of metal, solid surface and plastic objects. The manufacturers who employ these operators know how important it is to have a good quality CNC cutting machine.
A good quality CNC cutting machine has a cutting table that covers the area bounded by a length of four feet and a width of eight feet. A quality table can handle satisfactorily a standard 4 x 8 plate of metal, wood, plastic, glass, or stone. A table that lacks a sufficient length or width will make it necessary for the operator to repeatedly reposition the plate. Operators of the CNC cutting machine refer to such repositioning as indexing.
A good basic CNC cutting machine does both plasma and oxyfuel cutting. Refinements on a basic cutting machine might provide it with the ability to perform other functions, functions such as:
-spotting holes for drilling
-cutting a shape in the sides or end of tubing
-routing wooden shapes.
Other modifications on a CNC cutting machine might be directed at installation of the equipment for laser or water jet cutting.
The selection of a CNC cutting machine will be primarily determined by the nature of cutting that will be performed by the machine operator. For some operations, it will be necessary to do only straight cutting. For other operations, the cutting machine must perform bevel cutting. Bevel cutting allows the operator to trim, reduce, shave, and pare the material in the plate.
Both types of cutting will subject the CNC cutting machine to a fair amount of wear and tear. The manufacturer therefore needs to purchase a machine with adequate customer support. Such support should include the availability of spare parts. An absence of spare parts could require that the electronics of the CNC cutting machine undergo a retrofitting.
A need for retrofitting would deprive the operator of important production time. The need for retrofitting would diminish the quantity of goods that could be sold to the consumer. The need for retrofitting leads to a decrease in the amount of time that the operator will be spending at the CNC cutting machine. That is why the availability of spare parts for a malfunctioning CNC cutting machine remains one of the two chief concerns of the manufacturer. A second prime concern is the size of the cutting table.
The operator of a CNC cutting machine that needs to spend a large percent of time indexing will not have much time to spend on the actual cutting. Hence, the manufacturer will have much less product. Fewer products from the manufacturing facility translate into fewer products on the shelf. Consequently, the need for operators to spend time indexing can prove a detriment to the companys bottom line. A good sales volume reflects the well-planned purchase of a CNC cutting machine.
About the Author: Peter Vermeeren is the owner and webmaster of:
Machines and Tools
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