An increasing number of manufacturers are looking for new and smaller components to maximize space usage, faster processing times, tighter tolerances, insanely fast turnarounds, and other benefits to ensure that they meet up with consumer demands. This pressure does not leave manufacturers who are into precision machining out of the loop.

The introduction of automation has shown many manufacturers what can be done and this continues to shape their expectations in a bid to hit higher target levels in terms of performance and productivity. With advanced automation has found its way into all the aspects of the manufacturing and production processes and its application growing in a wide number of industries, it is only a matter of time before manufacturers find a way to automate all of their processes.

With the advent of automation, the requirement for labor has been drastically reduced and also, it offers users a higher percentage of part repeatability in ultra and micro-precision machining processes. The reduction in labor requirement has helped manufacturers to greatly cut down on their production cost per piece, especially for large factories that produce higher volumes.

The development of technology to meet the manufacturer’s needs continues to provide a shining beacon of hope for the future of advanced automation, even in precision machining. The evolution of technology also presents manufacturers with a chance to push the limits of what can be obtained in terms of performance and speed to meet the demands of their consumers.

However, with advanced automation involving the collection of several processes and devices including mechanical and electronic devices, one area stands out and that is the electronic motion controller.

The electronic motion controller functions primarily to determine the position and velocity of the mechanical device, which may be an electric motor or a linear actuator. With the first generation of motion controllers having been built using quite complex proprietary programming software that is specific to each user – the manufacturer-, it is no wonder that current technological advancements have rather simplified this, especially in the face of system integration.

System Integration in Today’s World

With system integration calling for the development of automated manufacturing cells, manufacturers were forced to shift from complex proprietary codes to simpler and more accessible “common codes” that provided them with real-time and reliable control over their machining processes. This development evolved to replace the older and now obsolete technology, giving the PC-based controls the center stage among manufacturers who are increasingly demanding more from automation to save cost, save space and also boost production.

However, PC-based controls didn’t come without their problems as manufacturers soon noticed time-lags between controls and real-time processes amongst other issues. These lags, capable of disrupting manufacturing processes have, however, been handled by isolating the control architecture from the operating systems of the PCs to give the PC-based controls better reliability. In addition to this, solutions were introduced to the common problem of premature failure of the PC hardware in the manufacturing environment. The solution first came in the form of isolating or distancing the PC from the manufacturing environment, however, technological advancement has also led to the build of more rugged PCs that can withstand the manufacturing environment with ease.

A Growing Acceptance

With these improvements in the market, there was no real barrier to the acceptance of the PC-based motion control systems that have proven to be intuitive, versatile, and also allows users to enter custom automated commands. The adoption of PC-based controllers also ensured that manufacturers can guarantee consistency across all work cells and machinery.

The adoption of the PC-based motion control also provided an avenue for the seamless integration of control and monitoring commands that reduce downtime drastically and increase productivity and reproducibility.

This advancement in the adoption of automation has also helped other industries including the aerospace, defense and medical industries whose components often require the highest levels of accuracy and long milling cycles.

With more manufacturers adopting advanced automation, the benefits they stand to gain remain enormous, some of which are cost-saving, production accuracy, improved productivity and cost-effective production cycles.

Advanced automation is truly shaping the future of precision machining and to learn more, visit 

Contour Tool Inc
38830 Taylor Parkway
North Ridgeville, OH 44039

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