CNC stands for “computer numerical control”, and is a more sophisticated version of the classic honing process. Unlike in standard manual honing where the component is manually stroked along a stationary but rotating tool, in CNC honing, the tool rotates, moving in and out, while the piece of raw material remains stationary. With in-process gauging on some CNC honing machines, the need for continuous monitoring of size whilst machining is also removed.
Because of the difference in process, CNC honing can often achieve better results than classic, manual honing. You can mostly expect a more precise finish, with a far greater degree of accuracy and repeatability. However, there are certain components and finishes which can only be achieved by manual honing as CNC machines simply cannot replicate the amazing feel and sensitivity of the human hand!!! Also, manual honing is also the only option for extremely small batch runs or one-offs to ensure competitiveness for the customer.
The CNC honing process is an extremely specialised area of manufacturing. Although computers are involved, this does not remove the need for a skilled operator. Ultimately, a highly skilled operative must still be at the heart of CNC honing, or you are likely to achieve unsatisfactory results.
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