Dajcor Aluminum

How modern CNC Machining works to reduce waste and costs

by Dajcor Aluminum

CNC Machined Aluminum Extrusions Create Green Products and Reduce Costs

Although computer numerically controlled (CNC) machining was developed in the 1970s, an English locksmith patented the very first metal extrusion process in 1797. From sheer human physical labour to hydraulic powered presses to entirely computerized machines, metal production processes have gone through beneficial upgrades to help reduce human error and product waste.

State-of-the-art, CNC machined aluminum extrusions are used to create many important items, including green products. In 2008, Apple Insider paid special attention to aluminum extrusion processes to show exactly how the 2008 MacBook and MacBook Pro were able to achieve their extremely thin outer casings without sacrificing design or durability. To create the 15” MacBook Pro and 13.3” MacBook Pro notebooks, raw aluminum was extruded into sheets that were cut into single blocks. Each block went through 13 milling processes. Precision cutting of aluminum extrusions was used to create keyboard holes, and lasers were used to form speaker holes. CNC machined aluminum extrusions are one of the main reasons why Apple can create such lightweight and environmentally friendly products..

CNC machined aluminum extrusions reduce waste in another important way. Alloy Metal Products explains that specifications for workpieces can be determined before cutting even begins, which means that the machines can reduce the amount of aluminum used on a per project basis. Waste is further reduced because prototypes are unnecessary when designing new parts or designs. New specifications can be programmed directly into a CNC machine. Even complete program upgrades occur effortlessly, and they are entirely reversible.

There are various types of CNC machines, including milling machines. CNC milling involves ensuring that the workpiece remains immobile while a tool rotates around the aluminum. Another process is known as “turning.” Instead of holding the workpiece stationary, the aluminum revolves around the motionless tool. Whether a specification is simple or complex, CNC machines ensure that aluminum extrusions are produced precisely and repeatedly. Even if a specific cut needs to be reproduced twenty thousand times, the specifications are so accurate that inconsistencies are rare.

Most CNC machines are equipped with fully automated end-to-end components. Various tools are combined into a single cell, which is installed into a single component and downloaded into one of the machine’s complex programs. In CNC machined aluminum extrusions, loop controls are used to ensure efficient and consistent cutting.

CNC machines rarely need human intervention. In fact, most aluminum extrusions go through almost entirely human-free processes. Machining procedures are complex, and CNC machines help decrease the chance of tolerance variations. Centralized locations are standard for CNC machines. This means that production costs decrease because less labour is needed to perform aluminum extrusions. Typically, only one worker is needed to operate several CNC machines simultaneously. Most CNC machines have a central command unit where the worker can operate all necessary processes, and many can operate without human interaction for days at a time.