Advantages And Disadvantages Of NC Machine | What are Numerical Cotrol Machines?, Parts, Principles, Limitations and Applications

Advantages And Disadvantages Of NC Machine: A Numeric Control Machine is the type of machine that has a set of predefined alphanumeric codes which control the action of any tool that is linked to it. These alphanumeric codes have the set of the information which helps in moving the tool when provided with a command. In the past times, heavy machines in industries used to be operated by human resources. Working of the motor, rotation, cutting and other such processes happens when manual labor controlled their motions. Nowadays, with advanced technology, comes ease and NC Machine is an example of one of them. It has already set parameters in it, which help control the movements of machines or tools. Here in this article, we will learn more about NC Machines and its advantages and disadvantages.

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What are NC Machines? What are the Advantages And Disadvantages of NC Machines?

Numerical control is a commonly used automated control of machines in industries. There are set programs that are automated and include characters, symbols, numbers, and letters. This programmed automation is used for the operation of machines tools. Therefore we can also say that the numerical control machine is the type of machine that is controlled by the program. In this machine, the numbers, letters, and symbols are joined together to form a basic program that gives instructions to perform different types of tasks by machines. So, when the job changes, the set of programs also changes.

NC is quite flexible as it is easier to design a new program for a new job. This NC Machining technology is primarily used in metal-related machining industries, here there are heavy machines, and is difficult to be handled by human labor. In such industries, NC can be used for drilling, shaping, turning, shaping, churning, etc. Apart from that, NC can be used in other types of numerous operations like sheet metal working, sampling, assembling things, etc. It is indeed a wonder of the NC Machines that has made performing complex tasks so easy at a faster rate, and also gives the bulk manufactured result.

Parts of an NC Machine

The NC machine consists of seven parts:

  1. Programs
  2. Machine control unit
  3. Signal output channel
  4. Tape reader
  5. Buffer
  6. Feedback
  7. Tools

Now let’s read a brief about all the parts.

  1. Programs: a program is a designed set of instructions that help guide the machine parts about working style. The programmer sets the program in an alphanumeric code and every single program has a different role to perform. In past times to store these instructions, punched cards, and magnetic tapes were used, but these instructions are stored via L-in wide tape or wide punched tape.
  2. Machine control unit: same as the control processing unit of the computer system, this machine control unit act as the brain of the machine. The main task of this unit is to read and analyze the commands provided by the input medium and bring them to action with machine tools. The main components of MCU are the tape reader, buffer, output & feedback channel.
  3. Signal output channel: this channel is designed to perform the task of providing the instructions to the tools of the machine to move according to the codes. In simple language, it tells the tools- what to perform and how to perform?
  4. Tape reader: it is the device that helps read instructions saved in punched tape.
  5. Buffer: as the name is in itself explanatory, it is a device that stores all the information of a tape reader.
  6. Feedback: feedback channel helps to send the data as feedback back to the machine control unit.
  7. Tools: tools are simply the parts of a machine that perform the task. For example, if the machine that is being used is a drilling machine, then it would have a spindle, cutter, fixture, motor, etc. So all these arts will work according to the instructions provided by the MCU and then perform the concerned actions like cutting, running, drilling, etc.

Principle of Working

  1. Planning: planning involves interpreting the engineering drawings of a piece of work under the manufacturing. In this planning, a route sheet is prepared, which shows the series of operations to be used in the concerned workpiece.
  2. Programming: programming process involves the preparation of programs that are to be inserted into the machine according to the operations to be performed in it. The instructions provided to the unit transform into an output signal which controls the actions of the tools of the machine.
  3. Tape preparation: tape preparation means punching the designed programs in tape.
  4. Tape inspection: although the machine works on its own, the programmer is human and human errors are very obvious. It could be that sometimes a program written on a paper may differ from the punched tape and if any mistake happens, it would create a blunder. Therefore to test the programs, all the codes sequences are tested on the sample workpieces which are made of plastic.
  5. Production: this is the last step, where the set codes are brought into action on a raw workpiece. The NC machine, loads the raw workpiece, performs the actions as required on it with the set programs and after completion, it is unloaded, and another workpiece is all set to be loaded.

Advantages of NC Machines

  1. Time-saving: manual working style takes too much time in performing and doing actions whereas the NC Machine saves time, performs efficiently, and gives the perfect result of codes.
  2. Work efficiency: where human being takes huge time in doing work like cutting or spinning, the NC Machine helps do such tasks quickly and in a much shorter time.
  3. Flexible: since the machine runs on codes, it becomes quite flexible to make changes in design, or even can help in increasing or decreasing the rate of production as per the rush orders.
  4. Efficient Quality: NC Machines are used to produce complicated parts, where chances of human error are very high. The machine helps to produce accurate and scrap-free parts.
  5. Space-saving: NC Machine is quite space-saving as they don’t acquire much space. As tools are already automated in machines, they cover the lesser space.
  6. Easy to use: if the labor is skilled and efficient to do work on computers and machines, NC Machines are way easier to handle. This is because; most of the commanding work is to be done by the machine only. Labor just has to monitor the work.
  7. Reduce labor cost and human error: with the help of this amazing technology, the labor cost can be cut down to a vast range as most of the work is being done by machine only. With this, it also reduces the chances of human errors due to least human interference.
  8. Higher accuracy: NC Machine technology provides the best and most accurate results in comparison to conventional traditional machines.

Disadvantages of NC Machines

  1. Heavy investments: since the technology is super high and complex in NC Machines, the investments are obviously high. Therefore it is important for the company to make the most effective use of the machine to recover at least the installation cost and then profits are a bonus.
  2. Maintenance cost: since the machines are high invested, the maintenance of such machines rises automatically. Repeated use of them could lead to wear and tear condition and may either stop functioning or starts dysfunction.
  3. Skilled labor: NC Machines are highly complex and sophisticated machines and cannot serve any unskilled labor. Proper educated and skilled labor is the most important criteria for them to work.
  4. Programming training: just having skilled labor isn’t enough sometimes. One needs to have labor that knows to work on the machine. The labor should be efficient enough to handle the troubleshooting and should have a deep and healthy knowledge of programming. And once the labor is hired, the cost rises automatically
  5. Technical problems: the punched tape inserted in the machine could have a wrong part programming which may lead to the malfunctioning of the machine.
  6. Feed and speed issue: this is surely the drawback of the NC Machine that it does not allow to change the code feed or speed during the operations.

Advantages And Disadvantages Of NC Machine 1

Comparison Table for Advantages and disadvantages of NC Machines

Advantages Disadvantages 
Time-savingHeavy investments
Work efficiencyMaintenance costs
FlexibleSkilled labor
Efficient qualityProgramming training
Space-savingTechnical problems
Easy to useFeed and speed issues
Reduced labor cost and human error
Higher accuracy

Advantages And Disadvantages Of NC Machine 2

FAQ’s on Advantages And Disadvantages Of NC Machine

Question 1.
What is the working style of NC?

The NC Machines are fully automated machines with set programs and automated codes in them to perform the tasks.

Question 2.
How is NC Machine helpful?

NC Machine can be operated 24×7 and gives a platform to the skilled labor in terms of employment.

Question 3.
What are the areas of working of NC Machine?

Face milling, shoulder milling, and drilling are some most common domains that use NC Machines.

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