CNC Machining – Four Tips to Cut Costs

CNC laser cutter machining nowadays has become extremely competitive because of the sprawl of CNC machine shops in every major city and region. Not only that, even from a global stand point CNC machine shops abound in every country in the world, some of whom have very low labor rates.

Hence every possible opportunity to cut costs in your CNC machining operations has to be considered seriously in order to offset the advantage of very low labor rates available in certain parts of the world. This article lists four such areas that the CNC machine shop owner, manager or foreman can look into in order to reduce costs and thereby increase the bottom line profitability of the machining business.

The first area to address is the raw materials cost. If the same material or family of materials is being machined, then purchasing the materials in bulk or placing a blanket order with scheduled releases can go a long way in reducing costs. This technique is currently employed by many companies quite successfully. There is another way to reduce material costs. That is by purchasing material drops from your raw material vendor.

Raw material companies supply several customers with cut to length material from full length bars and what is left over is usually heavily discounted. These materials meet all of the metallurgical specifications except since their lengths can vary quite significantly, they sell these at a very low price which could mean bargains for you. The second area to address to reduce costs is tooling. CNC laser cutter machine tooling can get to be quite expensive.

Purchase carbide inserts in bulk if possible or place blanket orders with monthly or biweekly or bimonthly releases. This will allow for taking advantage of volume discounts. Drills should be sharpened instead of being thrown away after use on a single job. This may sound too simple, but there are thousands of operators doing exactly the same thing by not sharpening drills. Another place where you can get cheap CNC tooling is from auction houses including on line auctioneers.visit website from http://www.mmsonline.com/articles/toolholding-for-heavy-duty-machining

The third area is in chip recycling. With the rising costs of commodities, the value in chips cannot be overstated. Keep different materials separated by storing in separate barrels with clearly identifying tags so materials of different chemistry do not get mixed up. The recycled value of the same material family but with different grades could be different and the recycling company will usually go with the lowest grade material price unless properly segregated.

CNC MachiningFor example 304 stainless steel chips sell for a price different than 400 series stainless steel chips. Also shop around and get the best price for chips. The fourth area for cost control is machining coolant. Many machine shops simply dispose off their coolant after a certain period because machining oils contaminate the coolant and cause smoke in the machine shop.

This can be addressed by an oil skimmer for low volume shops and by an oil water separator unit for the high volume shops. You will need to investigate the return on investment and pay off period on one of these units. In addition to extending the life of the machining coolant, these units enable a machining oil smoke free environment which is healthy for the operators. By following these four tips provided here, you can significantly reduce costs in your CNC laser cutter machining facility.