The demand for CNC professionals who are able to work with automated machines is continually on the rise as manufacturing industries adopt more and more robotic based solutions on their production lines. Most CNC jobs require skills and experience, but it is also possible to find apprenticeship openings and company training programmes that can lead to permanent employment as a CNC operator or programmer.
CNC programming work can involve a range of automated machinery in many different working environments. In some cases, programmers may be employed to programme machines that were previously operated manually, but have been adapted and connected to a central computer to complete automated tasks. General duties often include reading CAD (computer aided design) blueprints, creating plans to make parts for machines, developing a set of instructions, and translating instructions into a CAM (computer aided manufacturing) programmes that contains commands for the machine to follow. CNC programmers are also responsible for monitoring the effectiveness of an automated machine and to trouble shoot any issues that may reduce productivity.
Companies essentially recruit CNC operators to cut and shape metal and plastic for various types of manufacturing. CNC operators are therefore required to have mechanical skills and experience and also to be able to read blueprints. In the past, only advanced level CNC operators would programme, set up and start machines, but employers increasingly look for CNC operators that have basic computer programming skills and experience with computer-aided design and manufacturing programmes. CNC operators are also employed to ensure that the equipment runs properly, detecting problems such as vibration and overheating. It is also possible to specialise in a particular type of manufacturing task, such as CNC lathe or laser operation.
Computer control programmers and operators enjoy plentiful job opportunities. Due to the limited number of people entering training programmes, employers often struggle to find employees with the necessary skills and knowledge to fit their requirements. New CNC machine tools are continually being added to manufacturing process across different sectors, and although advances in CNC machine tools and manufacturing technology are automating the production process, skilled programmers an operators will still remain an essential element due to the need for constant monitoring and control.