Achieving (nearly) impossible with our CNC machine

Manufacturing | Posted by Judy Zhou on Thursday 14 April 2016

Achieving the (nearly) impossible is a fact of day to day life at Northern Lights.

For example when we are asked to make samples or develop prototypes, speed is usually of the essence. The sample needs to be signed off ‘tomorrow’, the project to be delivered ‘next week’.

That is one of the main reasons Northern Lights has invested in CNC technology-it is quick, it cuts and shapes wood or plastics and allows a very speedy and precise turnaround on even the most complex designs.

It helps us achieve the (nearly) impossible.

Achieving (nearly) impossible with our CNC machine
Achieving (nearly) impossible with our CNC machine
Achieving (nearly) impossible with our CNC machine

Our CNC router is specially designed to process plastic and wood-base sheet materials such as timber, MDF, plywood and chipboard. The process starts when our product designers create CAD drawings. David Burns, our specialist CNC Router operator,then converts the drawing to a special CNC machine programme – normally called G-Code. ‘The codes feed all information to the router and control the position, speed and movement of the machine.’ David explains, ‘For complex shapes, we will run a test cut to ensure the programming is absolutely accurate.’

Before the router starts cutting, the integrated vacuum pump will create an air-tight seal around the operating area to ensure that the cutting head will move smoothly on the sheet material.

Achieving (nearly) impossible with our CNC machine
Achieving (nearly) impossible with our CNC machine
Achieving (nearly) impossible with our CNC machine

The advantage of CNC router is that the process is very precise and can be repeated in exactly the same pattern over and over again. Our machine’s platform can accommodate sheet material as large as 1.2m X 0.8mand cuts a precise shape to a tolerance of plus or minus 0.5mm. With more than 30 different cutting heads, it can process an almost infinite number of shapes.‘This gives us a particular edge, not only when we have to deliver samples quickly, but also in terms of quality and turnaround time when delivering to major brand roll-outs,’ David said. ‘Costa Coffee would be a good example’

At Northern Lights we believe in the flexibility that in-house production facilities can bring. In a recent customer survey we found that 95% of our customers said that they valued Northern Lights’extensive UK production capabilities.

That is why we keep investing in new technology and machinery. Combined with our artisan skills, we have the perfect formula to achieve the (nearly) impossible!

Achieving (nearly) impossible with our CNC machine
Achieving (nearly) impossible with our CNC machine
Achieving (nearly) impossible with our CNC machine