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Embree Recognition Systems
CNC Router Helps Produce Innovative Wood and Plastic
Selecting a CNC router
Cunningham began looking for a CNC router that would allow him to define the geometry of wood and plastic components with CAD software and then reproduce his designs to their full precision. He was determined to avoid expensive traditional CNC machines that would cost on the order of $100,000 for a model that would provide the area that would be needed to produce a larger donor wall system. Instead he looked at five much less expensive machines that were designed specifically for producing wood and plastic parts to a high level of accuracy. He narrowed his selection to two machines that seemed to offer the greatest level of precision and investigated the details of their design. He found several significant differences. In particular, the Techno router offers faster cutting speeds and exceptional accuracy because it uses a servomotor to control cutting motion while other machines use stepper motors, which can give a stair-step cutting effect."
Cunningham also noted that the Techno router is constructed on steel stress-relieved bases with hardened steel linear ways. Its shaft-and-bearing system produces very smooth, play-free motion and is an extremely rigid system that produces high-quality cuts. The router also uses anti-backlash ball screws. These screws have excellent power transmission due to the rolling ball contact between the nut and screws. This type of contact ensures low friction, low wear, and long life. The ball screws also make it possible to produce wooden parts to the machine resolution of 0.0005 inch. In comparison, less expensive machines use rack and pinion gearing, which has too much play to make accurate cuts in small areas. Also, this type of gearing wears out quickly in the dusty environment of a carpentry shop. As one more factor in the decision, Cunningham said that the local Techno representative, Jason Robinson of Oldham Robinson, Ancaster, Ontario, demonstrated a superior level of technical knowledge and willingness to provide a high level of assistance in the implementation process.
Paying for the machine on the first job
Almost as soon as the new router was delivered, Cunningham had his first opportunity to put it to use. A major hospital was looking for a new concept for a donor wall in a maternity ward designed to honor parents of babies delivered in the ward who had chosen to contribute to it. Excited about the possibilities that the new router offered, Cunningham conceived of an innovative design that features a clear acrylic star with the baby's name engraved on it in black ink against a gold background. "I was very excited about the new design and apparently the hospital liked it too because they placed a large enough order to pay for the Techno router in the very first job that we ran on it," Cunningham said.
Not long after, the company designed a wall system used by a university athletic department to honor distinguished athletes and coaches. In the past, the university had simply mounted each plaque on the wall, but with well over 100 plaques the wall had become cluttered and unwieldy. Cunningham developed a simple bar design that holds each of the plaques within a much more organized and pleasing framework. The university liked the concept and awarded Embree the contract to produce it. While the design was simple, it had to be produced to a very high level of precision in order to achieve the right look. "It would have taken a long time to build this wall system by hand and we could have never achieved the level of accuracy that I was looking for," Cunningham said. "With the router, on the other hand, we got exactly what we laid out on the CAD system within a few thousands of an inch. The customer loved it!"
In another application for the new router, Embree produced honor roll plaques for a private school. The company's designers replicated the school shield in three dimensions in a CAD program. The final product has a very traditional look that could never have been achieved using stone, metal or glass. At the same time, Embree would have had no way to produce the intricate 3D design to a high level of accuracy prior to purchasing the Techno router. "In the past we would have had to either settle for a much simpler design or else contract out the manufacturing, which would have eaten up much of our profit on the job," Cunningham said. "With the Techno router, on the other hand, we were able to produce beautiful pieces in a very reasonable amount of time. All in all, the Techno router has helped us to become more innovative and creative and reach far beyond what we were able to do in the past."
2101 Jericho Turnpike, New Hyde Park, NY 11040 | Telephone: 1.800.819.3366 / 516.328.3970 | Fax: 1.516.358.2576