The Benefits of CNC Plastic Machining

by | Jan 25, 2016 | Machinery and Equipment

CNC machining offers some benefits to the industry but, it’s not just about machining metals to a high tolerance. In fact, other products can be machined, and CNC plastic machining is becoming more and more popular. This service provides some benefits to businesses today.

What does CNC Mean?
CNC stands for computer numeric control. In other words, the machining process is operated by a computer program. It automates the job a skilled machinist used to perform and is time-saving and very efficient. A CNC machine can perform the same task over and over with stunning accuracy, and never gets tired. Plus, these machines can be programmed to take care of several tasks on one work piece.

CNC Plastic Machining
Years ago, no one gave much thought to machining plastics. For one thing, the plastic technology could not produce items suitable for high tolerance machining. Today all this has changed as plastics can be machined to a tolerance of .001 of an inch.

Why had Not Injection Mold Parts?
At first glance, it may seem like injection molding would be a simpler and more cost-effective method to produce plastic parts. In many cases, this is true, but not always.

The Difference between CNC Plastic Machining and Injection Molding
When something is injection molded, a part is created from plastic pellets which are heated and injected inside of a mold. Once cooled, the liquid plastic becomes a solid material, and this is what creates the part. The process is quick, simple and very efficient.

When you machine plastic, you are drilling or shaping an already formed material. Nothing is heated or molded. Modern day plastics can be routed, turned on a lathe, and shaped into many different forms, thanks to CNC plastic machining methods.

Injection molding parts can be very expensive, due to the cost of creating the molds. Because this is the most expensive part of the process, it is important to mass produce injection molded plastic items to turn a profit.

There are no molds to create with CNC plastic machining. However, the machining process is more expensive than injection molding. It is the preferred method when you do not need a lot of parts. In fact, plastic machining is often used for producing prototypes.

There is another advantage to CNC plastic machining. It is simple and inexpensive to make changes or improvements to a product. You only need to reprogram the machine for the change. With injection molding, it is not a simple process to change or modify molds, so changes are not usually done, except when necessary.

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