When looking into an automatic bending machine, you may see the acronyms come up time and time again: NC and CNC. NC means numerically controlled and, similarly, CNC stands for computer numerically controlled. While these terms are not unique to the Bending industry, they are vital when researching which piece of machinery will best suit your needs. Hines Bending Systems have been experts in the tube and pipe bending industry since 1975. We aim to bring our vast knowledge in this arena to our customers so they can feel absolutely confident in their bending solution purchase. In laymen’s terms, these phrases loosely translate to semi-automatic and fully automatic. We will take a look at these different types of machinery and go over a few useful vocab words as well.
NC Bending Machines
NC machines use preset digital guides in order to make precise and uniform bends. They are not automatically measured or oriented and these steps will need to be done by a technician. This can have its advantages and disadvantages. Having a trained technician on the front lines can be useful as a quality control check. They can also address any machinery issues as they occur. However, human error is always a factor to consider.
Scrape rate is the amount of waste created either due to the error of an operator or a machinery malfunction. Scrape rate generally goes up when using NC, or semi-automatic, benders. Still, with stellar employees working in optimal conditions, scrape rate can still be kept to a minimum. If your company requires a smaller output and has an emphasis on handcrafted and checked products, an NC bending system will be perfect for you.
CNC Bending Machines
CNC Bending Machines are fully computer automated. They use software to map and measure exactly where and to what degree a bend will take place. It also orients your pipe or tubing relative to other bends or markers to make sure each resulting product fits exact specifications. The output of a CNC bender is generally higher than an NC counterpart as you do not have to wait for an operator.
A CNC automatic bending machine can range vastly in size and capabilities. Within the umbrella of CNC benders, there are induction benders. These machines combine hydraulic pressure and localized heat application to accurately bend particularly thick or inflexible materials.
A Few Helpful Terms
You may sometimes see the bending apparatus of CNC and NC machines called a press brake. It is useful to know this term in case you encounter it, but know that professionally, press brakes are actually used to refer to sheet metal bending machines. All CNC Benders are 3-axis machines. This means they are able to work around 3 separate axis at the same time. Some jobs may also require dual-stack capability which is when multiple radii bends are required on the same piece of tubing. This is just the tip of the iceberg when talking about bending machines. A more comprehensive list of need to know terms can be found here.
Hines bending is proud to have served both family and fortune 500 businesses alike with the same unwavering dedication to our customer-first promise. Check out our expansive catalog or contact Hines Bending Systems with any of your NC, CNC, or induction bending queries.