5 Effective Tips for Enhancing CNC Machine Efficiency -- Before the Chips Fly

Many machine shop owners and operators agree that the CNC machine is the pivotal factor driving advancement in the manufacturing sector. Irrespective of the capacity of your machining facility, there are numerous opportunities you can cash in on to optimize production time and thus improve efficiency of your CNC machines. Peter Jacobs, Senior Director of Marketing at CNC Masters, offers five tips to help you maximize that efficiency.

Peter Jacobs, Senior Director of Marketing at CNC Masters



Peter Jacobs is the Senior Director of Marketing at CNC Masters. He is actively involved in manufacturing processes and regularly contributes his insights to various blogs on CNC machining, 3D printing, rapid tooling, injection molding, metal casting, and manufacturing in general.

Here, he provides MAN readers 5 basic ways to improve efficiency in their CNC operation.

Adopt Lean Manufacturing Techniques

Lean manufacturing is all about improvisation, and the primary objective of this manufacturing technique is eradicating waste. It entails improving a procedure or manufacturing a quality product more quickly than you currently accomplish. Simply working more swiftly won't help achieve it because dimensioning errors or design flaws can emerge when you move too fast.

Manufacturing processes can be optimized reasonably by working in conjunction, eliminating handoffs and reworking, and completely removing some processing steps.

Here is how some leading CNC machining shops employ lean manufacturing techniques:

[Editor's note: Be sure to always read MAN for all the latest technology introduced to our industry.]

Enhance the Capabilities of the CNC Machinery

High-performance machinery includes advanced, upgraded CNC equipment.

Modern CNC machines routers and milling machines can achieve incredible feats, but when they don't get leveraged to the fullest, they may lead to resources being wasted frequently. For instance, manufacturers may save a lot of time and effort with modern 5-axis CNC machines, which are available to machine shops of all capacities. As a workpiece swing tangential to the cutting tool, you can make a variety of cuts with the same tool without having to swap out cutters.

Furthermore, shorter tool lengths are feasible as a result.

Jacob Leighton, a CNC shop supervisor at Leighton Machine & Tool, explains that since you get access to five faces of a component, 5-axis also permits you to minimize your tool lengths. It results in a stiffer tool, which increases productivity and the finish quality.

You must utilize the equipment to its fullest capacity to achieve optimum production output and product quality. The company's overall production costs may increase as a consequence of equipment failures if the machinery is not used to its maximum potential.

Be Mindful of Your Workforce to Boost Productivity

You need to comply with some workforce-oriented principles on your shop floor:

Set Realistic, Achievable Production Targets

Your machining facility must maintain a daily production schedule. It is highly advisable to establish suitable manufacturing expectations depending on the:

With the right approach, you may accomplish the daily objectives without overtaxing the workforce or the equipment.

The enormous demand for superior CNC components frequently leads to the setting of unreachable goals. Long-term, it results in a stockpile or unmet deadlines, which hurts the shop's reputation, productivity, and performance significantly. Thus, employee productivity and machine efficiency must be kept in mind while developing production schedules or taking up new projects.

Improve Cycle Time -- A Game Changer

The most crucial step you can take towards enhancing your business efficiency is to shorten the cycle time. Let's understand this with an instance, for a production of 1,000 pieces every cycle, the time saved will be approximately an hour if four seconds get saved in a cycle. And it's even more preferable if you can save these four seconds without incurring any expenses by simply configuring your programs perfectly.

But finding the perfect balance between optimal cutting parameters and maximum tool life is a constant challenge for CNC machinists. However, it is possible to decrease cycle time without compromising tool life. Simply follow these:

Another effective way proposed by Wade Anderson, a product specialist at Okuma America is making a shift from a single-turret to a dual-turret CNC lathe. As Anderson puts it, the efficiency of a dual-turret lathe gets doubled because you could get two tools into the cutting or two distinct operations running at the same time.

Additionally, you can leverage automatic data collection tools to obtain more precise cycle time statistics from every machine to analyze and optimize it.


The key to achieving success in the CNC production business is consistent upgradation, upskilling, and improvement since manufacturing CNC parts demands precise consistency and reliability. It can only be accomplished if the process is synchronous and efficient enough to produce high-quality products consistently. So, try implementing the above-discussed tips to boost your CNC machining efficiency levels without compromising customer expectations and production quality.

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