Introduction(china cnc service Carol)

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CNC (Computer Numerical Control) machining is a manufacturing process that uses pre-programmed computer software to control machine tools. CNC machines can perform highly accurate and repetitive machining operations for mass production of metal and plastic parts. When considering adding CNC capabilities to a machine shop, one of the biggest factors is determining the cost of CNC machines. This article will provide an overview of the costs associated with purchasing and operating CNC machines.
Machine Purchase Costs
The upfront purchase price of a new CNC machine can range dramatically based on the size, capabilities and features. Small table-top CNC routers and mills designed for hobbyists can cost a few thousand dollars. On the other end of the spectrum, large 5-axis CNC machining centers designed for aerospace and medical applications can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.
For small and medium sized machine shops, the most common CNC machines purchased are 3-axis vertical machining centers (VMCs) and CNC turning centers. New VMCs from quality brands like Haas and Mazak typically range from $50,000 to $150,000. New CNC lathes of similar size and quality normally range from $75,000 to $250,000. Economy and benchtop CNCs from companies like Tormach and Precision Matthews can cost between $10,000-$40,000.
The major factors that determine the base price of a new CNC machine include the:
- Number of axes (3, 4 or 5-axis)
- Spindle power and torque
- Travel distances of each axis
- Rapid traverse speeds
- Type and number of tool holders/turrets
- Size of work envelope and component capacity
- Material of construction
- Brand, quality and country of origin
Additionally, there are many optional accessories and features that can be added to a CNC machine such as an automatic tool changer, coolant systems, chip conveyors and robotic part loading/unloading that will increase the price. Carefully consider which capabilities will be valuable for your parts and production needs when specifying a new machine.
Buying Used CNC Machines
Purchasing a used CNC machine is an appealing option for many machine shops to save on upfront costs. However, buyers need to thoroughly inspect machines and ask questions about maintenance history and usage before purchasing. Well-maintained CNCs from trustworthy sellers can provide years of reliable service at half the cost or less than a new model. Poorly maintained machines with undocumented problems or excessive wear can end up costing buyers more in repairs and downtime.
When evaluating used CNC machines, key factors to examine include:
- Age, brand and condition of critical components like servo motors, spindle, ballscrews, linear guides and tool changer
- Way covers and seals to check for evidence of collisions or leaks
- Condition of way surfaces and ballscrews for indication of proper lubrication
- Backlash, repeatability and accuracy testing results
- Control system model, connectivity options, and compatibility with modern software
- Tooling inventory and tool holder types/condition
Operating Costs
There are ongoing costs beyond the initial machine purchase price that should be planned for when budgeting for CNC equipment.
Maintenance: All CNC machines require regular maintenance to keep them running optimally. This includes periodic replacement of filters, lubricants, seals, belts, etc. Many components will need rebuilding or replacement over time as well. Having a service contract with the machine tool dealer is highly recommended. Budget approximately 10% of the purchase price per year for maintenance costs.
Cutting Tools and Tooling: CNC machines utilize a wide variety of cutting tools including drills, end mills, inserts and more. These consumable tools will need continual replacement as they wear and break. Costs vary widely based on tool types, sizes, coatings, and usage. Expect to spend thousands of dollars annually on tooling costs for production CNC machines. Organized tool management systems help track inventory and optimize costs.
Workholding: CNC parts must be securely held and precisely located on machine tables, tombstones or in chucks/fixtures. There are many styles of vises, clamps, v-blocks, angle plates and other workholding devices. Intelligent, flexible workholding systems may cost tens of thousands but can also greatly improve productivity and part accuracy.
Software: Many machine shops utilize CAD/CAM software to generate CNC toolpaths from part designs. Popular packages like Mastercam, SolidWorks CAM and Fusion 360 range from a few thousand to tens of thousands of dollars depending on the level of features. Additional costs include annual maintenance fees and upgrading to newer versions.
Training: Taking full advantage of CNC automation requires competent programmers and operators. Most shops invest substantially in initial and ongoing CNC training to maximize productivity from their equipment. Consider options like on-site training from the machine dealer, vocational courses, online learning systems and specialist consultants.
Insurance: It is wise to have special insurance coverage for expensive CNC machines against theft, damage, or loss from events like fires. Consult with your insurance broker regarding options and costs.
Facility: CNC machines have requirements for power supply, compressed air, climate control, vibration isolation and more. Upgrading facility systems, electrical capacity and foundation work is often needed and should not be overlooked.
In summary, purchasing CNC equipment requires careful consideration of both the upfront machine costs as well as longer term operating expenses. Seeking advice from manufacturing engineers, machine tool dealers and experienced CNC machinists is highly recommended when estimating total costs. With proper planning and budgeting, bringing in-house CNC capabilities can be a smart investment that opens up new business opportunities and improves productivity for many machine shops. CNC Milling