CNC machining has pioneered a revolution in the manufacturing industry. It provides factories the ability to cut complex parts from a single sheet of material through computer technology. As computer technology has evolved, it’s only natural for CNC machining capabilities to follow.
5 Ways AI Influences CNC Machines
One area that has had a positive influence on CNC Machining, in particular, is artificial intelligence (AI). The Pittsburgh CNC Machining industry has seen this first hand, being a robotics hub where the use of machining and AI is common. Here are a few ways AI increases the benefits of CNC machining.
1. Developing AI-Powered CNC Programs
A CNC machine’s program is its brain. By utilizing AI in the development process, CNC machines can become smarter before they even start cutting. Smart machining software can come up with resource-efficient cutting plans that reduce the percentage of human error in pre-production.
2. Increasing CNC Efficiency
AI and machine learning algorithms are able to receive and analyze the data produced by a CNC machine in real-time. Using predictive and diagnostic data analysis to operate in the most efficient working order increases productivity and keeps the machine running in perfect health.
Additionally, AI-powered CNC machines have built-in problem-solving capabilities, allowing them to make changes to the cutting process depending on the time and materials available.
3. Allowing Semi-Autonomous and Autonomous CNC Machining
With sufficient sensors placed throughout the machine and the surrounding environment, CNC machines can take automation a step further. With the help of AI, CNC machines can become semi-autonomous — or in some cases, fully autonomous.
An AI-powered CNC machine is able to collect and analyze its own data and determine the next appropriate step in the manufacturing process. The AI also limits the need for a human to be present at all times. The machine sends out notices and alerts about the exact attention and care it needs as necessary.
4. Reducing CNC Machine Downtime
Downtime is an unavoidable part of using any machinery, but the risks increase when it comes to equipment with numerous parts like CNC machines. Pairing smart maintenance software with the CNC machine’s sensors allows it to predict when a machine is likely to break down based on current performance, surrounding conditions, and any wear and tear on the machine’s parts.
AI-powered predictive maintenance drastically reduces the chances of a machine breaking mid-production, especially during rush-hour production when there aren’t any spare parts readily available.
5. Reducing Workplace Injuries
While safer and more precise than their traditional counterparts, CNC machines can still pose a risk to individuals working in close proximity. However, if the machine can understand how to move pieces around on its own, it can reduce the need for a worker to have their hands inside the machine when it’s on.
Another benefit AI offers to safety is human detection. Using AI-powered optical sensors — in combination with various other sensors — a smart CNC machine can detect whenever a human is too close to a dangerous part of the machine. It then sends out an alert or halts operations until instructed to continue.
High Quality On-Demand Parts
To compete globally, more U.S. on-demand manufacturing companies will be required to provide high-quality parts while utilizing the latest AI technology to cut tight tolerances in a variety of cutting styles.