CNC Parts Catcher — What You Need To Know
Some decades ago, it was the sole responsibility of machinists to ensure perfection in the crafting of every single piece. We still need those skills, but we also require another way to rapidly produce higher product volumes today. To produce those pieces in large quantities, we now have computerized machines that ensure the production of large quantity parts with high precision. These machines are known as CNC machines that use pre-programmed software for controlling machine tools. A popular, commonly used machining system in this regard consists of a turning machine, bar feeder, and some kind of CNC parts catcher receptacle.
What is a CNC Parts Catcher?
You would probably be aware of a CNC machine. Do you know what a parts catcher is? A parts catcher is a thing that catches parts out of the CNC machine as they release from the machine jaws. The purpose of this thing is to automate the CNC lathe or turning center for faster production. Just assume an operator catching every single piece manually. How long would it take? This process is expedited with the help of a CNC parts catcher.
You don’t have to reach the CNC machine to catch the piece. All you need is to automate the cycle. A part will come out of the machine jaws into the parts catcher. Then, the parts catcher will eject the component into the parts bin from where the operator can easily remove the produced part, piece, or component. It means that you can machine in an automated way and you can do components production without even continually opening the machine door to take the part.
Benefits of Parts Catcher
The primary objective of a parts catcher is to assist in the automation of the entire CNC machining process for accelerating production. It improves productivity by enabling the machine to work unattended, allowing the operator to work on other tasks. An experienced engineer can assess your CNC parts catcher requirements and offer a customized system or standard product to match your needs.
A parts catcher can easily retrofit any existing equipment. The best thing about a parts catcher is that it is inexpensive. It needs minimal set-up and you can retrofit it easily to your lathe or turning center. Here are the most important benefits of a parts catcher:
- It expedites the process of producing parts in bulk quantity
- Can easily be retrofitted with existing or new equipment
- Customized solution or standard product
These parts are usually of high quality, so you don’t need to worry about their longevity. You can also contact a seller to ask for a customized parts catcher according to your specific requirements.
Information Needed for a Perfect CNC Parts Catcher
It is important to buy the most suitable parts catcher for your machine for a flawless automated operation. Therefore, you need to focus on a few important factors while looking for the product. Your machine name and exact model number are the basic information you need to share with the seller. Apart from that, you need to share the following information with the seller:
- Part shape (square, round, etc.)
- Minimum and the maximum diameter of the part
- Part material (plastic, aluminum, steel, etc.)
- Requirements about surface finish
- Cycle time needed for unloading
- Company location
Apart from this information, you also need to know whether or not the machine has a couple of finishing M-Codes. CNC parts catchers are engineered according to the specific requirements of the user. The lead duration varies from 8 to 10 weeks from the time you order. Therefore, you must take this important factor in your mind before ordering your CNC parts catcher.
Advantages and Disadvantages of CNC Machining
The CNC machining technology is used for performing various complex processes, such as milling, routing, grinding, punching, lathing, and turning. This technology was introduced in the 1960s when it revolutionized the machining industry. Today, it is a highly adapted machining method in different parts of the world. However, it is still important to know the possible disadvantages of this technology alongside its many advantages.
Here are the main advantages that come with CNC machining:
- Uninterrupted Use
CNC machinery works continuously without any break unlike manual labor unless there is a need for maintenance or it malfunctions. This is why we need parts catchers to assist in a speedy automation process. Continuous working of the CNC machine ensures fast bulk parts production.
- Precision, consistency, and Redundancy
You need to program the product design only once using computer software. After that, the machine will replicate the design for any quantity, perfectly.
- Low Operator skill Requirement
There is no need for special training or skills to operate a CNC machine. They are very easy to operate, unlike manual machines.
- Fewer Labor
Because a CNC machine works through computer software, so you need only one operator to control the machine. Less labor means you are going to cut the overall expenses.
- Flexibility and Capability
You can reprogram the software easily and quickly for producing various parts. It helps in keeping up with the changing customer demands. CNC machining utilizes computer precision that enhances the capability of the production. You can perform intricate and more complex operations with the help of a CNC machine.
A CNC machine requires greater upfront cost as compared to manual machines. However, improved production capabilities still make CNC machining a superior choice to manual machines. With automation, the need for manual operators has significantly decreased, resulting in skill loss. With time, we may experience a complete skill loss, making many skilled persons jobless. Therefore, unemployment is another big concern with automation.
If we compare the advantages and disadvantages of CNC machining, then we would find out that this technology has much more benefits than its downsides. It is important to shift to this modern-day technology if you want to improve your production capabilities. The systems incorporating a bar feeder, CNC parts catcher, and turning machine have become an integral part of the production industry today.
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