Technavio’s latest market research report on the global CNC machine tools market provides an analysis of the most important trends expected to impact the market outlook from 2017-2021.
Technavio defines an emerging trend as a factor that has the potential to significantly impact the market and contribute to its growth or decline.
The global CNC machine tools market is projected to grow at a CAGR of more than 9% during the forecast period. CNC machine tools are automated conventional machine tools that are equipped with a mini computer that doubles as a controller for the machines. CNC machines are mainly used in the automotive, aerospace, metal fabrication shops, electronic, and shipbuilding sectors.
According to Gaurav Mohindru, a lead analyst at Technavio for engineering tools research, “CNC machines can perform multiple operations unlike conventional machine tools, which require changing of tools after every operation adding on to the cycle time. These tools are instrumental in bringing about an increase in efficiency and reduction in the cost of manufacturing.”
6-axis CNC machines redefining machining operation
The 5 axis CNC machining had already made a huge difference in the metal processing industry, by increasing efficiency, reducing the cycle time, and reducing the wastage of material. But the growing demand from major end-users like automotive, aerospace, metal fabrication has prompted the manufacturers for innovations and technological incorporation. The advent of 6-axis CNC machine has redefined machining operations. The capability of the machine to turn both the ends of the fixtures processes the raw material into a finished product without the use of multiple fixtures and other machining activities.
“As the entire machining process is done within a single machine, this obviates the need to move the workpiece from one machining tool to another, thus preventing batch queuing and facilitating LEAN manufacturing,” says Gaurav.
Design of new milling tools
The commercial use and the growing popularity of advanced CNC machines and machining centers have prompted manufacturers to develop new milling tools that are more efficient and versatile. For instance, the milling tools supplied by Sandvik Coromant, which are called CoroMill cutters, have a higher metal removal rate and are faster when applied to direct cutting forces. The new cutting tools have minimum radial, and axial run out and increased accuracy that helps to deliver improved surface finish. They also have an enhanced tool life and tolerance to tighter parts. This functional improvement distributes the load uniformly and helps to attain faster cut with less vibration, noise, and wear.
The high spindle speed technology, hard art machining, and faster milling of the newly developed tools reduces the tool setting time and maintenance. The new cutter bodies are formed from pre-hardened steel and provide a provision of tooth pitch selection.
Emergence of 3D printing
The advent of the revolutionary technology known as 3D printing has taken the manufacturing industry by storm. 3D printing popularly known as additive manufacturing is the process of creating three-dimensional physical objects from a digital model. This typically involves the laying of thin layers of molten material in succession. The process enables the production of intricate geometries, which are difficult or impossible to create with conventional manufacturing techniques.
The additive nature of the 3D process minimizes wastage of material, unlike other manufacturing techniques. Unlike 3D printing, CNC machining is a common subtractive manufacturing technique. It begins with a solid block of metal/material and uses rotating tools and cutters to manufacture the desired part or product.
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