Manufacturing has come on leaps and bounds over the years. Customers expect you to create high-end materials from to-quality tools, with no room for mistakes. Nowadays, it’s all about the end-to-end process. This starts from sourcing the best materials through to delivering the ultimate customer experience, with it all relying on networked devices and machines.
Expectations for tools are changing. The equipment you use needs to change too in order to stay one step ahead of the competition. The type of CNC machines you use in your smart factory can either elevate how you operate or be a hindrance. Here we will explore the types of CNC machines smart factories should be equipped with in 2023 and beyond.
Future Factories Require Software Just as Much As Hardware
If you’re into your tech, you’ve probably already heard of toasters that can indicate when it’s running out of bread, or devices that can signal it needs servicing long before we’re aware. These are the cheap thrills of the IoT (the internet of things). Your smart factory can also tremendously benefit from IoT. Whether it’s through predicting when machines need servicing or being aware when stock levels drop.
This is where software becomes paramount. A smart factory that wants the advantages of the IoT depends on connectivity. Machines need access to software that links them to internal networks. This is where every component of the system can communicate. You may even connect them to an extensive network and use data from supplier and customer networks to formulate more streamlined processes.
For CNC machines to communicate with each other, you must have the right software in place. In the past, machines that used different protocols or from other manufacturers may have had difficulty interacting with systems inside the factory. Thankfully, this issue has been sorted out. In fact, software on newer CNC machines can send data to centralised locations, allowing it to be distributed in a way every human being and machine can understand.
Types of CNC Machines to Use
It’s believed the vast bulk of CNC machines used today are roughly 10 years old or less. This is wonderful news for your smart factory. In many cases, they’re able to still move to the latest software and add accessories that can be used in automation. For instance, you may be able to retrofit network connectivity, laser measurement, and operating systems.
Retrofits mean you’re able to avoid replacing your machines wholesale. Instead, if you update them individually, this enables you to keep your smart factory performing as it should without disruptions and downtime that can hinder customer engagement.
Functionality continues to improve and expand too. The types of CNC machines you were installing a decade ago are now being replaced by faster, better, and more comprehensive models. For instance, CNC milling machines have progressed from 4-axis to 6-axis, as well as adding spiralling to what they can do. As CNC machines continue to improve, so do their productivity and cutting processes, which makes it far simpler to monitor. You can check out Amastone official website who sells a wide selection of CNC tools and accessories. These include CNC tool holders, CNC tool forks, and CNC vacuum pods.
Be In the Know About Close-Loop Manufacturing
Smart factory owners need to look positively to the future, rather than fear it. Before replacing or upgrading your CNC machines, you need to first consider what benefits you want your business to achieve as a result. In your smart factory, not only will you be competing on precision and range, but also in terms of the customer experience, specialisation, and time to market. CNC machines that are easier to build to order enable you to not carry as much stock, reduce inefficiencies, and reduce upfront costs. Any successful smart factory needs to know exactly what their audience base requires. With newer CNC machines, this is exactly what they’ll provide.
Over the next 5 to 10 years, tool manufacturers will begin using their technology and software to eliminate waste entirely. In fact, they’re planning for this already. The ‘closed-loop’ attitude to manufacturing means simply ordering and using exactly what you’ll need. This means there won’t be any excess waste being left on the factory floor or sent to landfill.
In a nutshell, using this approach will be better for the environment too. This is great news for smart factory owners who want to create a more eco-friendlier business. What’s more, it will enhance the customer experience and ultimately, be far better for your bottom line.
Looking toward the future can be scary. However, there are numerous options available to you, especially when it comes to how you use CNC machines in your smart factor. Whether you retrofit accessories and software or replace machines with the latest models, you will be investing in a future that’s connected, efficient, and most importantly, profitable.