Components of a CNC System

21 October 2020

The entire concept of Computer Numerical Control (CNC) has proven to be a useful contribution to the manufacturing industry. Since a CNC system is the one responsible for the reception and interpretation of the data, all the while controlling certain necessary actions, it is now considered as a versatile form of soft automation. Its main use revolves around lathe machines, milling machines, laser machines and sheet metal processes.

This computer-based electronic equipment receives information in digital form from input devices, as wells as positional information of certain elements of the machine. Afterwards, it translates the data making it the new requirements for the new positions of the machine elements, thus giving it the appropriate commands of direction. To further understand the functionality of a CNC system, here are its components.

Components of a CNC System

Due to the CNC being a microprocessor-based system, the main operations is controlled by its heart and brain – CNC machine. However, it is nothing without its components. Among those are the Central Processing Unit (CPU), input devices, machine control panel, Programmable Logic Controller (PLC), servo-control unit and display unit.

The CPU is where a CNC system is controlled. It receives the data stored in the memory as part program. The data is then decoded and modified into position control and velocity control signals. It oversees the movement of the spindle or control axis. An action is rectified if it does not match with the programmed data. Speed control unit works in a harmonious way with the CPU for the movement of the machine axes.

Industrial Applications of a CNC System

CNC systems can be applied to a broad range of industrial applications. Following are some of the industries where CNC machining is used: metal fabrication, discharge machining, automotive, manufacturing, electronics, agriculture

Benefits of a CNC System in the Manufacturing Industry

The manufacturing industry relies heavily on CNC machining. Following are some of the advantages of CNC machining. A CNC system offers higher flexibility and repeatability and it promotes reduced indirect costs. It also prides upon its reliable operations that results in increased productivity and consistent quantity. Such also saves you a significant amount of time and effort since it offers reduced non-productive time, higher accuracy, reduced lead time, and automatic material handling

Improved automation is the first benefit offered by almost all types of CNC machine tools. The manufacturer can reduce or completely eliminate the human intervention in a production process. Operators can work on other tasks because many CNC machines can operate unattended. There are also some side benefits which include reduced human errors, reduced operator fatigue, predictable machining time, etc.


Automation, B. (n.d.). Elements and Benefits of A CNC System. Retrieved October 14, 2020, from BP Automation:

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