To achieve its goals of thermal efficiency and increased worker safety, Shannon uses a CAD-CNC system to design its reusable insulation blankets. What do these acronyms mean, and how do they translate to a quality product?
CNC stands for “Computer Numerical Control,” and it is the process by which a Computer-Aided Design, or CAD, is translated into numbers understood by an automated fabrication machine.
“This means a computer converts the design created by CAD software into numbers,” said Mike Makofsky, Shannon’s Northeast regional manager. “The numbers can be considered the coordinates of a graph, and they control the movement of the cutter.”
Essentially, a reusable insulation blanket is designed in CAD. That CAD file is then analyzed by a CNC machine, which determines how to properly cut the insulation fabric to create the design.
Using a CNC machine allows the fine details capable in a CAD file to be accurately reproduced in real life. This ensures that the blanket will fit as designed, providing the full promised energy savings to the client.
“We’re continuing with the accuracy and fine-tuning that the CAD system gets,” said Makofsky.
Furthermore, CNC helps the manufacturer maximize the use of its resources. Makofsky likened the CNC machine to an old-fashioned dressmaker, trying to make the most product out of the resources available.
“The dressmakers were the ones who made the money for the company because they looked at a hunk of fabric and said, ‘I need to make 24 dresses. How do I use the fabric with the least waste?’” said Makofsky.
This optimization reduces costs on the manufacturing side, too. “That makes us competitively priced,” added Makofsky.