Contract machining and manufacturing has advanced significantly over the past decades. Just fifty years ago, hand-operated machining equipment was still more prominent than computer numerical control, which was still a very new technology. Now, CNC machines are everywhere, and computer numerical control has been successfully implemented into nearly every machining process. Manufacturing technology has and continues to advance at an exponential rate, with new machining methods and new ways to improve on the traditional techniques.
The rise of automation
Automation has been a key part of manufacturing, not only with improving the efficiency of any machining process, but also the repeatability. Combine this with powerful computer software, and now the machine can consistently produce components with tight tolerances, at high volumes, and low labor costs. Many machines can perform multiple operations simultaneously as well, resulting not only in more efficient production, but the capability to produce more complicated geometries.
Robotics have improved significantly as well over the years, performing more than just pick and place operations. They’re used in automated finishing and machining operations, offering consistent and repeatable quality–and even more attractive, ‘lights-out’ capabilities, or the option to let the facility run 24/7.
The rise of new and improved machining equipment also led to the ability to work with new materials and metals. Industries such as Aerospace required stronger, more lightweight materials than what was typically available. Aluminum is the most commonly used metal that fits both of these requirements, but new materials such as titanium, Inconel, and new types of stainless steel grew in popularity as manufacturing equipment advanced to accommodate them.
Industry 4.0 and Smart Manufacturing
Industry 4.0, also known as smart manufacturing, is the term used to describe the digital transformation of contract manufacturing, resulting in real-time decision making, enhanced productivity, flexibility, and speed. With new digital technologies being integrated into every level of the manufacturing shop, contract manufacturers can improve their supply chain tracking, their customer service, and many other enterprise systems, allowing for new levels of visibility and insight. Now, manufacturers can analyze large volumes of data directly from the floor for predictive maintenance and more easily assess areas of their shop that need improvement.
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Since 1943, Montague Manufacturing has specialized in contract machining and manufacturing, investing in the latest technology in order to provide the best possible quality and service to our customers. Contact us to explore you manufacturing needs.