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Evolution of CNC machining

The evolution of CNC machining started in the 1940s…

1940’s – 1950’s

  • A digital electronic computer called ENIAC (electrical numerical integrator and calculator) was developed.
  • John T. Parsons invented numercal control to make machines more precise. They were originally used to make aerospace parts.
  • A three-axis numerically driven milling machine demonstration was successful.

1960’s

  • Numerically controlled machines start to be used in a wider variety of industries because they became smaller and less expensive.
  • By 1964, there were over 35,000 NC machines in use nationwide.
  • G-Code was developed by Gerber Scientific Instruments.
  • The Electronic Industry Alliance standardized G-Code.
  • The first CNC machines were introduced. Thus, the first CNC machine shops were born.

1970’s

  • The demand for CNC machines grew.
  • Other countries such as Germany and Japan started making CNC machines at a lower cost.
  • In 1976, CAD and CAM systems became available.
  • Also in 1976, the Sinumerik System 7 introduced in 1976 was the first
    CNC equipped with a microprocessor

1980’s

    • By the 1980’s, the largest CNC machine manufacturers were no longer U.S. companies.

1990’s

    • Manufacturing companies were busy retrofitting their manual machines into CNC machines.
    • The advancements in hardware paved the way for CAD-CAM software development to become more efficient and less expensive.

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