When your previously low-volume metal fabrication shop starts receiving larger numbers of orders, it's time to start thinking about equipment investments to speed things up. One of the things you might be considering is an investment in a CNC machine to automate some of your fabrication processes. CNC equipment can be complex, so you want to approach the purchase process carefully. Here are some things you need to think about.
Consider your fabrication materials.
CNC machines are rated according to what types of metal they are designed to handle. You can also find machines that will handle a variety of metals with different cutting tools. Make sure that you consider the types of metal you typically work with, and also think about whether or not you want to expand your offerings. If you want the opportunity to take on any project no matter the source, choose your CNC machine accordingly.
Know how much space you have.
It won't do you any good to invest in a CNC machine if you can't fit it into your workshop or your programmers can't maneuver around it as necessary. Make sure you know exactly where you'll plan to put the machine and measure the area carefully. That way, you can narrow your search to equipment that fits those dimensions, avoiding any spacial capacity problem upon delivery.
Evaluate your project complexity.
CNC machine cutting tables are designed with a variety of angles and ranges of movement. If you frequently cut materials that require precision, detailed cuts, or sharp angles, you need to be sure that the cutting table will accommodate that. If it can't handle the turns and angles that are required for your projects, it isn't going to help you.
Choose the right programming input.
If you are new to CNC programming as a whole and you don't have the capacity to hire a trained CNC programmer to operate your machine, you may want to look at CNC machines that offer a conversational programming panel. Conversational programming may limit your programming abilities a bit, but it is easier for beginners to use.
However, if you have a CNC machinist on staff, or if you've been trained in CNC programming, you should lean toward a machine that allows for program uploads and input instead. Take a few minutes to evaluate the programming panel, though. You don't want one that's too complex to use, as it could slow things down considerably.
Learn more from a company such as Select Steel.