Computer Numerical Controlled refers to the automation of machine tools that are operated by a computer. In modern CNC systems, CAD/CAM drawings are output to programs that can generate a computer file that creates the commands needed to operate a particular machine. These commands are then loaded into the CNC machines for production. Since any particular component might require the use of a number of different tools, such as drills, saws, modern machines often combine multiple tools into a single “cell”. In other cases, a number of different machines are used with an external controller and human or robotic operators that move the component from machine to machine. In either case the complex series of steps needed to produce any part is highly automated and produces a part that closely matches the original CAD design.

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