CNC Milling Vs Manual Milling – Which Is Better For Batch Production?

CNC Milling Vs Manual Milling – Which Is Better For Batch Production?

An experienced milling machine operator has one answer to this question: for large batch production, always use CNC milling.

If you ask a group of experienced milling machine operators which method is better, manual or CNC, you’ll hear hours’ worth of arguments. Let’s look at the benefits of each manufacturing method when it comes to spare part production for any industry.

Benefits Of CNC Milling

CNC milling is an advanced method of spare part manufacturing, especially when it comes to complex components and batch production.

  • High precision – CNC milling is precise since the machine follows a computer program.
  • Production volume – CNC milling is suitable for producing numerous components in short amount of time. These machines are perfect for mass production.
  • Advanced solutions – CNC milling allows building advanced prototypes in bulk.
  • Less labour – Even though CNC machine operators need to be experienced (mostly in programming), their number doesn’t have to be as high as for the manual milling process.
  • Fewer chances of error – Unlike manual milling, CNC milling relies on the software rather than on human hands, thus preventing many errors.
  • Continues operation – CNC machines can work 24 hours a day while manual machines’ output depends on the operator’s work hours.

Benefits Of Manual Milling

Manual milling has many advantages. That’s why these machines are still widely in use.

  • Lower cost – Manual milling machines are not as costly as their CNC milling counterparts so it’s easier to find a company which offers these services.
  • Suitable for detailing/smaller objects – Manual milling is great for fine-tuning and repair work.
  • Faster results – For some projects, manual milling is a less time-consuming process than CNC milling.

Project Specs Matter

When you are making a decision on which milling method to use, you need to evaluate the project you are working on. If you need to produce a hundred identical spare parts, CNC milling is a perfect choice.

In case you require a single yet complex part with numerous details, manual machining is the way to go. Overall, if you have a large batch order, go for CNC milling. If you have a small and specialised order, you are likely to need a manual milling machine.

Working In A Tandem

CNC and manual milling shouldn’t always be considered separately. CNC and manual milling machines do an excellent job of working in tandem, especially when it comes to large orders with varied requirements.

Ideally, a company you are placing an order with should have both CNC and manual machines. Experienced technicians and operators make a decision about which approach best suits your project requirements.

At Woodley Engineering, we have CNC and manual milling machines to deal with all tasks. Our team is trained to operate both machine types to offer our clients the fastest and most precise spare parts. 

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