CNC machines were first developed and introduced between the 1940s to 1950s. They relied on punched tape or perforated paper tape for common telecommunication data storage technology. This quickly transitioned to analog and then eventually digital computer processing. CNCs rely on digital instructions from computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) or computer-aided design (CAD). The CNC machine then interprets the design from the CAM/CAD instructions.
CNC machines are now benefiting from automation to make more precise parts and are aiding emerging technologies by producing quicker parts. The video below describes how 3D printing and CNC machines are being used side by side.
Advanced programming rapidly increases shop productivity and automating the processes simplifies the production and reduces the intensity of the labor. Automated cuts improve both speed and accuracy, which is especially helpful when producing prototype parts. Most of the time a single tool will not suffice for part production and CNC machines will be combined into common units or cells where the machines can draw different tools from.