CNC Machining Tips and Techniques to Increase Productivity

Machine shop supervisors and project managers have become highly skilled organizers of CNC cutting tools and the workforce that utilizes them. When it comes to the CNC process, though, there are always new machining tips and techniques to learn. As technology inches the world toward running a machine shop with more and more automation, companies that rely on manpower to complete their projects must become leaner and more efficient. In this article, we present different ways to improve machine shop productivity through increased machining efficiency and CNC programming tips.

Increasing Machining Performance

Before we get into more complex methods, let's start at some of the basics. When it comes to machining tips and techniques, it starts at the level of your CNC cutting tool, lathe, router or punch press.

Avoid Downtime With Preventative Maintenance

CNC machine cutting cycles will never be infinite, but you can extend them considerably by following proper maintenance protocols. Thoroughly clean and inspect your CNC cutting tool, controllers and lines prior to beginning work. Through your OEM or supplier, make sure you have CNC machine accessories and replacement parts in stock or readily available for delivery. All consumables should be kept at proper working levels. Keep the worktable clear of debris by utilizing downdraft tables and other equipment to prevent potential damage to components.

Use High-Quality CNC Cutting Tools

A lot of unaccounted for expenses come from production delays caused by tooling replacement and machine repair. For CNC cutting machines, sacrificing quality for cost should never be your first priority. What you may save up front running a machine shop with discount parts you will sacrifice in output quality, machining efficiency and tool replacement.

Improving Machine Shop Productivity

When it comes to the CNC process, you have to think about machine shop productivity as a combination of elements and placing them in the correct order to produce the most efficient outcomes.

Reduce Downtimes

While every machine will have its own unique duty cycle as well as production time, you should take them into consideration not as standalone CNC machines but as links within your manufacturing chain. If you have an order that needs to use a CNC lathe, punch press, CNC cutting tool and weld cell, then work should be laid out in such a way that it minimizes downtime between workstations for that project in conjunction with all of the other projects on the floor. Manpower should be distributed across the machine shop so no one job is left unattended and no crucial workstation is waiting on a technician.

Eliminate or Minimize Workflow Bottlenecks

Running a machine shop is difficult work to say the least, and there are few things that can grind productivity to a halt like workflow bottlenecks. These can occur due to excessive differences in processing times, machine shop efficiency discrepancies or excessive downtime caused by disorganized CNC processes. If you consistently have stacks of work piling up at one or more workstations, then you need to analyze what tools, machines or labor changes to make so you can ensure prompt and on-time delivery of your orders.

Key Factors of Machine Shop Efficiency

It would be impossible to boil down all of the problems that can affect machine shop productivity into one article. These machining tips and techniques have been learned through decades of experience, struggle, trial-and-error and study. Here are the key factors in running your machine shop efficiently.

1. Invest In New Technologies

The advancements in technology that have been made in the manufacturing sector over the past two decades have been game-changing for machine efficiency around the world. CNC cutting tools are smaller, cheaper and more advanced than anything that was available at the turn of the century. The CNC process from start to finish has been fundamentally rewritten through technological innovation and implementation. Staying on top of that technology will keep your shop on the cutting edge in terms of capability, efficiency and productivity.

2. Training, Training and More Training

Cultivating diverse employees will lead to machining performance above and beyond what you thought was possible. As we previously discussed, eliminating bottlenecks, downtimes and workflow inefficiencies are primary concerns. Cross-trained workers capable of operating different CNC machines, cutting tables, weld cells and punch presses are among the best ways to increase productivity and reduce downtimes. Investment in your workforce will pay off tenfold in the future.

3. Organize Your Floor

In addition to CNC programming, tips on how to organize your shop floor can start from the very basics and get more advanced as time moves on. While each project may produce a unique part, many of them follow the same order of operations to turn a quarter-inch blank of stainless steel into a cut, formed and welded final product. Providing adequate space for each workstation, having tools and parts in centralized and accessible locations and minimizing part travel times around your shop can revolutionize your machine productivity.

Shop Custom CNC Cutting Tools From Cutting Systems

Running a machine shop is a tough job. Make it just a little bit easier by utilizing these machining tips and techniques — and the best technology available with CNC cutting tools from Cutting Systems. Our custom cutting platforms are geared to your shop specifications to boost machining performance. Whatever your needs may be regarding your CNC cutting tool, Cutting Systems has the solution. Contact us today to get started on your next machine shop addition.

Contact Us

Every industrial CNC machine from Cutting Systems delivers the cut quality, productivity and precision that your application demands. We consider all of our customers to be valued partners and provide unparalleled service to ensure your needs are met. If you have any questions about our steel cutting machinery, feel free to contact us – we're always happy to help. If you know what you need for your industry, try requesting a quote to begin building the CNC machine that will get the job done right every time.