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Monday - October 18, 2021

Taking CNC Machining to the Next Level

CNC machining (computer numerical control) is a subtractive manufacturing process where material is removed from a piece of metal. There has been a lot of hype in the last decade over its counterpart, 3D printing or additive manufacturing, and the technological advancements in both material and capabilities. However, in the background this well-established manufacturing method has received a high-tech facelift of its own.

Adding Axes for more flexibility

With CNC machining, more axes translate to more functionality with a single machine capable of producing a greater variety of parts. Recently, 5 and 6-axis CNC machining systems have become less cost prohibitive and delivery a higher efficiency solution than traditional machines. By rotating easily around the x, y and z axes these systems achieve faster cutting times leading to increased yields per tool.

Challenges to faster CNC machining

While many of the effects to faster manufacturing are positive such as higher yields and greater efficiency, it can create potential problems that need to be addressed. As a subtractive process, CNC machining ultimately produces metal debris during cutting. These remnants are known as metal swarf or more commonly, metal chips. Faster cutting times can lead to a more rapid build-up of metal chips within the machine that can result in tool wear, uneven surface finishes or even scrapped parts. Operators need to also account for machine downtime when considering chip removal solutions.

The key to efficient removal of swarf in CNC machining

Using our electromechanical design and manufacturing expertise, MinebeaMitsumi developed an innovative solution to remove swarf (metal chips) during the machining process. The Wavy Nozzle is a programmable coolant system for lathe and CNC equipment that can move metal chips away from the cutting tool and prolong the life of the machines. There are three different modes of operation – fixed, sweep and kick – that can be optimally programmed for each cutting system. This flexible system can be easily adjusted and guides chips in one direction facilitating precise removal that is superior to fixed nozzles. When chips are removed effectively, the cutting tool can remain in operation contributing towards higher yields with minimal scrap.

As one of the leading manufacturers of machining equipment, FANUC develops high tech systems to automate cutting and other industrial processes. We worked together to integrate Wavy Nozzle into the ROBODRILL platform to offer customers a comprehensive vertical machining center.

Junzo Masuda
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