Machining Technology While machining has gradually changed over the many hundreds of years, the greatest strides have been made in the past twenty years due to the dramatic developments in the field of technology.
One of the first changes was to convert all of the machines to operate on electricity such as the engine lathes and the milling machines. For many years they were all driven by steam power or water. This made it easier to move machine shops into towns where they were not close to a river or a source of water.
The next change was to make it all easier to process parts faster and cheaper . This led to the invention of the CNC machines which allows one person to produce hundreds of parts with one set up and program. This helped to drive the price down for the consumer due to the fact the labor costs were reduced.
The technology has progressed even more since the invention of the water jet and the laser. The laser is the most recent and versatile machine on the market presently.
It is used to cut metal out fast and is very cost effective and is the preferred choice over conventional cutting methods.
There is almost no limit to the cutting path; the laser can move in any direction unlike other processes that use knifes or saws. Even very flimsy parts can be cut by laser because the process is forceless allowing the part to be cut and not lose its original shape. The laser never loses its edge and can cut very hard or abrasive materials. Lasers cut at high speeds which is only limited by the power available for the laser.
This is just one of many advancements that has come along in my lifetime. I look forward to the many advancements that will help make my job more precise and produce a better product in the future.