When a new technology comes into the machining industry, there are always worries that it will render other technologies inferior. It happened back when Computer Numerical Control Electrical Discharge Machining or CNC EDM equipment was introduced in the 1970’s.
It was thought by many that it would mean sure death for traditional chip-making processes for part production. Instead, the wire, sinker, and hole-drilling versions of EDM discovered and settled into their own niche. This allowed conventional milling and turning to remain useful. Although it has made developmental advancements since its beginning, EDM still complements conventional machining instead of putting it on the back burner.
Now, additive technology is going through the same process as EDM. Some people worry additive machining technology could collapse subtractive machining. Still being a fairly new technology, it has many kinks to work out before it can find its niche like EDM did.
That being said, additive will have an impact on part production and how designers think and create. In the end, it will likely settle into a niche and complement subtractive machining. Some shops have already brought in additive manufacturing, and are making it work right alongside their conventional machining.
Additive manufacturing can do things traditional machining can’t, or would require additional steps to complete. Conversely, some parts might need a more conventional process, or to be finished after being made by an additive machine.
With many shops already figuring out how to create a synergy between additive and conventional, there’s little chance that the design freedom and capabilities of additive manufacturing will lead to the demise of subtractive machining.
For all of your conventional turning and milling, EDM, waterjet machine needs and more, contact Brooks Associates. They can help find the perfect machining center for every need.