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Automation increases demand for skilled personnel in the CNC machining industry

The use of automation in the machining and manufacturing industry is growing at an exponential rate, and the demand for skilled workers is growing right along with it.

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Contrary to popular belief, automation technology is not replacing machinists. Rather, it is creating new, safer jobs. 

Operating a CNC machine requires knowledge of computers and software as well as machine operations and maintenance; thus, skilled workers are in-demand. This is modern automation at its finest; the combination of computers and electronic devices to improve manufacturing in the hands of a skilled workforce.

“Skilled personnel are some of the hardest people to find in the workforce. To have a programmer that can run a CNC and also write the programs is one of the most valuable people you will have in a shop—whether it’s an OEM or Job Shop,” explains Tom Kohm, President & CEO of Premier Equipment, a leading seller of used CNC machines. 

Computers continue to make machine operations more efficient, by improving accuracy and speed. People skilled in computer operations and programming are needed to operate and write programs that control the machinery. 

Milling machines, lathes, precision cutting, and turning CNC machines are easily controlled with software. The machines are programmed to respond to commands from the computer, but skilled personnel is needed to input the commands and check on the performance of the machines. Knowledge of machine operations is also necessary to monitor production, even though the mechanics are computer-controlled.

The internet, along with special programs, can keep CNC machines operating around the clock. In the face of the pandemic, many smart factories have retooled to produce parts for ventilators and other equipment needed in hospitals to treat the coronavirus. The precision parts must be finished and sent off to be assembled as soon as possible to meet the demand for life-saving equipment.

Skilled professionals who work with computers cannot simply start a production program for a machine and walk away. They must continue to watch the program while the machine is operating. They must also know what to do if the machine malfunctions or there is a glitch in the program, although the machine may be able to fix itself using built-in diagnostic tools.

The use of automation in the machining and manufacturing industry is growing at an exponential rate, and the demand for skilled workers is growing right along with it.  Skilled CNC machinists are the present and the future of most manufacturing operations. 

The job market is wide open for people who are willing to learn new skills and move forward with improved technology. Automation will not replace the human workforce, rather the roles of machinists will change as the machining industry continues to evolve. 

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