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Is CNC Machining a Dying Trade in China

Compared with developed countries such as the United States, China’s CNC machining industry started relatively late. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, many developed countries had fully entered the era of digital manufacturing, while China’s digital manufacturing technology was still in its infancy.

The CNC machining industry is an important basic industry that is related to the country’s strategic position and reflects the country’s comprehensive national strength. The digital manufacturing level of a country is an important symbol to measure the degree of industrial modernization of a country, and it is an important foundation of strategic significance in national defense construction.

Is CNC Machining a Dying Trade in China

So what is the current level of CNC machining in China? Since entering the 21st century, CNC machining technology has gradually matured in China and has been rapidly popularized at the same time. At present, in the field of manufacturing, all enterprises that need mass production have adopted CNC machining technology, among which precision manufacturing is the most representative CNC machining industry.

In recent years, with the rapid iteration and update of China’s CNC machine tools, China’s heavy-duty CNC machining industry has achieved fruitful results, because China has developed many of the world’s largest CNC machine tools. More importantly, at the 83rd meeting of the International Organization for Standardization Machine Tool Technology Committee and the Metal Cutting Machine Tool Inspection Conditions Sub-Technical Committee held in Salzburg, Austria, Chinese companies independently developed a dynamic CNC machine tool for high-end five-axis machine tools. The S-shaped test piece for machining accuracy testing has entered the international standard sequence, which also means that there is finally a general standard formulated by China and internationally recognized in the field of metal cutting machine tool testing.

And this is undoubtedly the biggest recognition. It should be noted that the rise of China in related manufacturing fields is closely related to national defense construction. China’s first aircraft carrier continued to be built at that time, and when the J-20 began to be developed, It was also during that time. More “Chinese standards” will inject more Chinese power into the manufacturing industry in the new era. In the future, China will also have high-end weapons and equipment that surpass the J-20 and domestic aircraft carriers.

In recent years, the continuous emergence of the 20 series and various new weapons and equipment has benefited from CNC machining capabilities of my country’s heavy-duty machines. For example:

  1. The ultra-heavy-duty CNC gantry boring and milling machine with the largest single-machine output value in China manufactured by Beijing No. 1 Machine Tool Factory is also the largest CNC gantry boring and milling machine in the world so far. This super machine tool, known as the “machine tool aircraft carrier”, has a total height of 15 meters, a total width of 22 meters, a total length of 39 meters, and a total weight of 900 tons. It can process steel parts the size of a basketball court into any shape. The low-pressure inner cylinder and high-pressure outer cylinder of China’s million-kilowatt nuclear power plant are all processed by it.
  2. The world’s largest machining diameter seven-axis six-linkage propeller processing machine independently developed by Zhongchuan Heavy Duty Machine Tool Co., Ltd. can process a maximum diameter of 11 meters. As we all know, the silent performance of submarines is the core index to measure the combat effectiveness of submarines. For a long time, the noise of Chinese submarines has been widely criticized by the outside world. The US military even threatened that Chinese submarines can be detected as soon as they leave the port. The core component that restricts the noise of submarines is the propeller at the tail of the submarine. The commissioning of the 7-axis six-linkage propeller processing machine tool will greatly help the qualitative change of the noise performance of the Chinese navy submarine. At the same time, the seven-axis six-linkage machine tool is currently the largest and most complex machine tool in the world. The successful development of this machine tool indicates that Chinese machine tool companies have the strength to compete with the world’s leading machine tool companies in the international market.
  3. There is also the world’s largest gear CNC machining equipment, which is also the gear CNC machining equipment with the largest processing diameter and the most advanced technical performance in the world, with a maximum processing diameter of 16 meters. It enabled China to master the manufacturing technology of heavy-duty marine crankshaft processing machine tools, and got rid of the previous situation of heavy dependence on imports of large marine crankshafts. China has also become the third country in the world that can independently design and manufacture crankshaft processing equipment after Germany and Japan.
  4. Not only that, China Second Heavy Machinery Group has also successfully built the world’s largest die forging hydraulic press. This 80,000-ton hydraulic die forging press is 27 meters high above the ground and 15 meters underground, with a total height of 42 meters and a total equipment weight of 22,000 tons. One of the important contributors to the successful test flight of China’s domestic large aircraft C919. The giant die forging hydraulic press is a national treasure-level strategic equipment that symbolizes the strength of heavy industry, and an important symbol to measure a country’s industrial strength and military capabilities. There are only a handful of countries in the world that can develop it. At present, only China, the United States, Russia and France have die forging presses of more than 40,000 tons in the world. At the same time, they broke the world record held by the former Soviet Union for 51 years.

Today’s China has not only become a powerful country in CNC machining and manufacturing in the world, but also the world’s largest exporter of CNC machining services. The globalization of mid-to-high-end CNC machining services has reached more than 70%, and even five-axis CNC machining services have been successfully exported to Germany, which also marks that China will no longer be subject to other countries in the field of precision machining. However, there is still a big gap between China and other countries in the field of machine tool manufacturing. Most of some functional components rely on foreign countries. This is mainly related to China’s late start in related technologies, but even so, the gap between them is narrowing a little bit.