What Is Machine Tending?

Machine tending is one of the most promising applications of automation. Before we go into detail let’s understand the meaning of machine tending. The literal meaning of the word machine tending can be understood by breaking down the word. Tending means providing care for something or someone. In this case, machine tending translates to using a machine to unload or load materials or parts. At the moment almost all machine tending operations are done manually by humans. A common application in modern machine shops are CNC machines for example milling machines and lathes. These machines are tended by employees. Their job is to feed the machine raw material and then remove it from the machine once the job of the machine is done. This process presents a number of challenges. It can be hard to find good experienced workers and it is very costly to train new employees properly so they can safely and efficiently tend the machines.

An automated machine tending process can eliminate these challenges. It can repeat the process of delivering the raw material and removing it from the machine endlessly with the aid of robotics. Several industries are already using robots for some steps of the production line. One common is example of this is the use of robots to empty CNC machines. There are certain advantages to automating CNC machine tending. One of the biggest benefits is that you can run an automated production facility round the clock with downtime limited only to the maintenance of the machines. The use of robots can also significantly minimize the cycle time which allows you to run the process almost continuously.

Now that you have a general idea of what CNC machine tending automation is let’s take a look at how it can play a major part in fulfilling your growing manufacturing needs:


Efficiency is one of the most important factors when it comes to CNC machine tending. The more efficient the machine and the process of feeding it raw material the better the output rate will be. By automating the tending process, you can increase the efficiency of your manufacturing process which can help you reduce the amount of material that is wasted and cut down your production cost significantly. With automation you can have a single employee managing multiple machines at the same time whereas if your machines are being operated manually you will have to assign each machine a separate worker. Another factor that contributes to efficiency is the human error factor. Robotics doesn’t have the ability to make human errors which in the long run can save you a lot of money on the cost of production.


Speed is a major requirement when it comes to the process of manufacturing and production, the faster your turnaround the better your profit will be. CNC machines have the distinct ability to combine several manufacturing steps which can all be controlled from a single computer. This greatly reduces the time it takes to produce a finished product. When this factor of speed and efficiency are combined you get an optimized manufacturing process that ultimately gives you a higher turnover rate improving your bottom line. CNC machines outperform manual means of production by a huge margin and they can speed up your production process significantly.


Precision is key when you are trying to deliver a quality product on a tight deadline. CNC machines are incredibly precise they use a digital template for production which means that every product that they make will be exactly the same since there is no manual element involved. Sometimes even a difference of millimeters can be crucial with CNC machines you get the assurity that nothing will go wrong during the manufacturing process. There is no chance for human error as everything is being handled by a computer. The accuracy of CNC machines is within 1/1000th. This kind of precision makes sure that no matter the workload, the finished product will always be consistent and of high quality.


Consistency is the key to ensuring the quality of your products. Automated CNC machines allow you to make the same product in exactly the same manner every time which means that there will never be a lapse in the quality of your products no matter the deadline or the quantity. These machines perform the same 24 hours a day all week. It’s not like an automated CNC machine ever be in a bad mood or would not want to work. The only time when automated CNC machines rest is when it’s time for maintenance other than that are ready to make error-free products all day. Automated CNC machines provide a level of consistency that was previously not possible.

Design Retention

Design Retention is an important feature that many manufacturing processes require. When a design has been uploaded into an automated CNC machine’s operating system, it is saved in the machine’s computer. It can easily be retrieved if you want to make that product again. This means that there is no need or hassle of manual adjustments all you really have to do is load the design up and you will be manufacturing that product in no time. The replacement of operators or any other external factors plays no part in the machine’s ability to retrieve and manufacture designs once they have been uploaded in its software.


The simplicity of execution is what makes any manufacturing process sustainable and efficient. The simpler the process, the better it will work. With automated CNC machines, you do not require skilled operators because they are designed for simplicity of operation. Under normal circumstances, a single operator can oversee several automated CNC machines without any problem. This is especially beneficial as it can reduce your labor costs and cut down on prices to give you a competitive edge.

Less Stress

Less Stress is a vital need for many in the manufacturing industry. Automated CNC machines remove the stress of having to constantly worry about being short-staffed or having sub-par employees that hurt the productivity of your whole operation. These things have a very real impact not only on your bottom line but your mental health as well. An automated CNC machine is like the best employee that you can imagine. It does its job to the best of its ability and is always productive.


The safety of your employees is not only a big responsibility but an important part of improving your bottom line as well. Automated CNC machines allow you to have a fully optimized production system that is consistent meaning that there will be less risk of accidents or any other unfortunate events. When operators are not required to manually transport and feed the raw materials to the machines using manual tools the risk of injury becomes minimal. With CNC machines your employees don’t have to come into direct contact with the machine.

Socially Distance

There are countless benefits to having automated CNC machines for your manufacturing process. If you are operating in the current situation with COVID, CNC machines are a good way to socially distance your employees without hurting your productivity. Automation is the future of the manufacturing industry no matter how you look at it. The benefits that automation has to offer are too significant to ignore. It makes your manufacturing process faster, simpler, more efficient, and safer. If you are looking to increase the manufacturing potential and quality of your operation you should consider using automated CNC machines. Right now is a good time to catch the wave of automation early because with each passing year new ways are being developed of incorporating automation into the manufacturing process. Simply because it is a better way of operating the manufacturing process. The use of cobots or collaborative robots is also becoming common, these are force and power limited robots that can be integrated into the production process to do a certain task without needing to be fenced off from the surroundings. They have been a great success as well.