How CNC Machines Helps the Robotics Industry

Today, robotic technology is increasingly used in many different industries. Robots are found everywhere from surgery centers to assembly lines. Learn more about how new and used CNC machines support the manufacturing and development of robotics technology. 

What Is a CNC Machine?

Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machining is a type of manufacturing process that uses pre-programmed software to direct the movements of machinery tools. This process is known as computer-aided manufacturing (CAM). CNC equipment must be programmed and operated by a qualified machinist. 

There are several types of CNC machines, each used for different manufacturing processes. These include:

    • CNC Mills: These machines use a rotating cutter to remove material from a workpiece. The cutter is mounted on a spindle that may be horizontally or vertically aligned. Types of mills include vertical and horizontal machining centers.
    • CNC Lathes: Also known as turning centers, these CNC machines have stationary tools. The workpiece rotates so that the machine can perform a variety of operations, including cutting and drilling.
    • CNC Electric Discharge Machine (EDM): These machines use electric sparks to shape materials. Electrical energy erodes the conductive workpiece into its desired shape.
  • CNC Laser Machines: These CNC machines use highly focused laser beams to cut or engrave materials. They are often used to label or decorate a workpiece. 

Other common types of CNC equipment include plasma cutting tools and boring mills. 

How Are CNC Machines Used in the Robotics Industry?

Robotics is an interdisciplinary field that combines engineering, computer science, and manufacturing. Simply put, it is the design and construction of robots and robotic applications to assist humans.

Many individuals are familiar with robotics in the healthcare industry, where robotic technology helps doctors perform surgery with more precision and accuracy. But robotics is used in a wide range of industries, from packaging and transportation to military operations and space exploration.

CNC machining plays an important role in the development of robotic technology. Using computer-aided design (CAD), a machinist can program a CNC machine to create a 3D model of a part. The machine output is efficient and precise, perfect for the many components of robotics equipment.

Machining centers, including mills, lathes, and laser cutters, are used to create many different robotic parts. These include:

  • Sensors: Robots use sensors to collect information that informs their operation. Sensors can detect light, sound, proximity, and more. For example, a robotic vacuum can sense when it is approaching a wall and will turn in response. 
  • Printed circuit boards (PCBs): A PCB connects different electronic components to form a working circuit. 
  • Robotic arms: These programmable mechanical tools are used to automate routine tasks, such as placing an object on an assembly line. 
  • End effectors: These parts are attached to the end of a robotic arm to perform different functions, such as gripping or scanning. 
  • Jigs and fixtures: These specialized tools are used in robotic processes to hold tools or workpieces in place. 

Benefits of CNC Machining

While robotic parts can also be made with 3D printing, CNC machines offer several advantages. These include:

  • Strength: CNC machines make parts by removing material from a larger piece of metal or plastic. The process is subtractive, unlike 3D printing, which is an additive procedure. This makes for a stronger, more durable end product. 
  • Versatility: CNC machines are compatible with the materials often used in robots, including steel and aluminum.
  • Efficiency: CNC equipment, especially horizontal milling centers, balance speed and precision for a high rate of output.

Find Used CNC Machines at Premier Equipment 

Your company’s CNC equipment needs to be reliable – but the cost of a new machine can be a challenge. At Premier Equipment, we work with robotics industry professionals across the United States and beyond, connecting them with high-quality, gently used CNC machines. Premier Equipment has over three decades of experience as a buyer and seller of used CNC machining centers. We serve a wide range of industries that rely on robotics, including:

  • Aerospace
  • Automotive
  • Defense
  • Manufacturing
  • Medical
  • Transportation

With more used CNC machines for sale than any other dealer, you will find an extensive inventory of machining centers. Whether you need a used lathe or EDM, we carry a selection from leading names like Mazak, Haas, and DMG Mori. For more information, call us at 407-786-2000 or contact us today.

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