Since 1958 china has there first computerized numerical control machine made from Tsinghua university, it starts a new era in the Chinese heavy machine industry. However, due to the limited technology at that time and the beginning of economic and industrial recovery from world war two and civil war, Chinese CNC manufacture are still under the research and development stage and mainly focus on services for the military or aerospace industry only. Until the 1980s, with the Chinese economic reform and open, the CNC machine industry start serving for civil purposes since china becomes the world industry center.
Even though the CNC machine has become the critical role of modern Chinese manufacture tools, it still serves as an advanced tool for manufacture and mass production that complete industrial market-ready products that orders from a foreign country, and there is no real work that involves in prototyping. And the transition from manufacturer outsources base to prototyping capability starts when China becomes the world’s largest automotive industry country.
How rapid prototyping starts from the automotive industry?
In 1990, China has become the largest automotive manufacturer(fig1.1). Even high-end automotive brands such as Audi, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz have manufacture locations in china. The demands of CNC prototyping for mechanical parts of automotive and headlight that involve in plastic injection molding from local china due to the cost-saving and time reducing are rapidly increasing every year, it triggers the supply of CNC industrial and reaching 62 billion US dollar capital in 2014. The quality of products from the CNC machine also improved drastically as the speed and tolerance also enhanced, which is the two most essential standards in the CNC machine prototype industrial. The patience of a standard three axial CNC Machine reduced from 10 μm to 5 μm. Accurate classic five axial CNC machine reduced from 3~5 μm to 1`1.5 μm, hyper-accurate CNC machine tolerance can reach up to 0.001 μm. all the above tolerance achieve by implementing the Technology of ball screw pair, hydrostatic guide, linear rolling guide, and magnetic suspension guide. the feeding speed of the central axial also increase to a minimum 60m/min, acceleration and deceleration can achieve 1 to 2 g minimum, the rotation speed can reach 100000rev/min.
These tolerance and speed improvements allow china not only to satisfy and take challenges from the automotive industry but also to establish advanced manufacturing projects such as the China High-Speed railway and china Railway High-Speed when all the essential components require rapid prototyping.
Why CNC prototyping machining is more and more important?
All R&D project or process need to develop an engineering or product prototype, not only the appearance and size needs to be close to the final release market-ready product, its functionally and output also needs to be close to the final design purpose. Since the purpose of a prototype is for demonstration, test, and functionally check, it most likely to be disposed of recycling. Therefore, the cost-efficient solution needs to consider since the keyword of rapid means keeps making and disposal; it is a ubiquitous process of an engineering project. Material that falls in the Aluminium and plastic category is great cost-effectively and can achieve the general purpose of most product required strength/weight ratio.
Compared to CNC, someone who proposes 3D printing is also a new option for a prototype. It costs less material in the production and can achieve complicated geometry shaped of design such internal honey corn structure to reduce the weight. At the same time, maintain the strength of the material, but CNC machining takes less production time compared to a standard hand size part, 3D printing needs approximately 30-40 mins, CNC machining only takes about 2-3 mins to complete. When it comes to a prototype, CNC prototype material consumption is not a consideration anymore. Hence, the CNC machine prototype is better options than a 3D printer in the current world manufacturing environment.
Why should you have your CNC machining prototype in China?
The answer is simple: Compared to other countries, you can get the same quality of prototypes or parts with much less price and time-consuming if you order CNC prototypes in China. In 2018, there are 1391 companies that specialize in CNC machining, include all the CNC machine ownership, 82% are made in China which mainly focus on the preliminary type of prototyping, 65% medium precision 5 axial CNC machine for high precision prototype or manufacture, 6% of them are for high precision 7 axial CNC machine.
China has a complete CNC machine industrial system from production to maintenance, cutting tools supply, and highly trained machine operator. With many years of experience in automotive, mechanical machinery, molding, and aerospace, a sophisticated system that supports all types of a prototype that use to prototype in a traditional industrial-based country like japan or German.
With the guarantee of quality and services, the price advantage is enormous: the combination of operator fees and machine operation fees is 34% of North American, 41.3 % of Japan, 26% of Europe CNC machine service. The amount of production time can reduce to up to 61% of the original prototype time. With a combination of Chinese robust transportation and shipping supply chain, guaranteed service for the prototype assured.
The 13th five-year plan decides to shift traditional manufacturing to advanced manufacturing, information technology, biotechnology, and new energy with new material demand precise, high efficiency, and specific type of objective focus CNC machine prototyping method. Economic globally accelerates these changes and upgrade traditional CNC machining prototype to advanced technology in china and keep up a highly competitive situation to meet the global challenge.
Eventually, the Chinese CNC prototyping industrial will cooperator with foreign manufacturing enterprises or independent foreign investors to combine resources and technology. And generate an ultimate product supply chain that allows most civil purpose products can create directly from concept to prototype product then establish mass production all within china to save the time, cost, and reduce the risk.