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Numerical Control (NC) Machine Tools
Numerical Control (NC) refers to the method of controlling the manufacturing operation by means of directly inserted coded numerical instructions into the machine tool. It is important to realize that NC is not a machining method, rather, it is a concept of machine control. Although the most popular applications of NC are in machining, NC can be applied to many other operations, including welding, sheet metalworking, riveting, etc.
The major advantages of NC over conventional methods of machine control are as follows:
Machining of complex three-dimensional shapes
Low operator qualification
Types of NC systems
Machine controls are divided into three groups,
Traditional numerical control (NC);
Computer numerical control (CNC);
Distributed numerical control (DNC).
The original numerical control machines were referred to as NC machine tool. They have
“hardwired” control, whereby control is accomplished through the use of punched paper (or plastic) tapes or cards. Tapes tend to wear, and become dirty, thus causing misreadings. Many other problems arise from the use of NC tapes, for example the need to manual reload the NC tapes for each new part and the lack of program editing abilities, which increases the lead time. The end of NC tapes was the result of two competing developments, CNC and DNC.
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