A Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machine is programmed to cut specific materials into a variety of shaped components, creating precise designs with minimal wastage.

The CNC machining process can be applied to a number of applications, including: grooving XPS insulation for underfloor heating systems; producing outdoor furniture; laboratory work surfacing; and machining the panels used to manufacture locker doors and toilet cubicles.

Using CNC’s ability to cut materials to exact designs and specifications can save businesses valuable time and money.

Read this guide to find out more.

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About This Guide

This guide will take a look at the benefits of using CNC machining and the purposes for which it can be used.

The Benefits of CNC machining at Panel Systems

Flexible approach — every job is different, whether it’s cutting Ravatherm XPS (formerly Styrofoam) for underfloor heating insulation panels or solid grade laminate into restaurant tables, the flexibility of CNC machining means most projects can be easily accommodated. Large contracts can be fulfilled with all pieces produced to a uniform design and specification but panels can be supplied on a bespoke basis to customer’s own designs.

Speed — Panel Systems has a number of CNC machines in operation utilising both 3 & 5 axis capability. This means large orders can be completed on time through our increased capacity.

Many of the materials required to be cut using the CNC machines are available in stock at Panel Systems’ main location, to ensure prompt delivery

Control – As Panel Systems create the materials used for the CNC machining process, we’re able to fully control the quality, thickness, design and specification of the finished products.

Reliable service — choosing a provider with a long and reliable history ensures that CNC machined materials are delivered to exact specifications, quickly and accurately.

Large capacity — Due to the nature of CNC machining and with a number of machines in operation and specialised team members, large capacity orders can be fulfilled in addition to smaller, more bespoke projects.

Introducing the technology

What is CNC machining and how does it work?

CNC machining is a manufacturing process which involves pre-programmed computer software dictating the movement of factory tools and machinery. The process is suitable for a wide variety of industries including automotive, aerospace, construction and agriculture and can be used to produce a range of product components

The CNC machining process involves using computer aided design (CAD) files to carry the specifications of a project (Panel Systems can accept customers own CAD files in a variety of formats). The machine then employs computerised controls and machining tools to both cut to shape, and where appropriate, remove layers of material from a base piece until the desired results are achieved.

The use of CAD designs makes the process highly accurate. Once the drawings are complete and committed to file, they will be used to produce multiple versions of the product in question, according to the specifications of the order.

At Panel Systems, we work carefully with customers who use our CNC machining process. An initial meeting will usually take place to discuss the requirements of the project, before optimisation software is used to calculate the most economical way to cut the material.

You can find out more about the CNC machining process at Panel Systems here.

Sectors Already Benefitting from CNC Machining

Underfloor heating systems

Water-based underfloor heating: CNC machining is used with extruded polystyrene such as Ravatherm XPS (formerly Styrofoam) for use in water-based underfloor heating systems. The customers own pipe layout is incorporated and grooves are routed into the insulation board in order to house the water pipes of the heating system. This will allow the pipes to sit flush in the grooved areas, providing an effective method of insulation, increasing the efficiency of the overall system and preventing heat loss through the floor.

Electric underfloor heating: In addition to water-based underfloor heating systems, thin cut Ravatherm XPS (Styrofoam) sheets are supplied for electric based systems. The thinner sheets are used to sit underneath the electric matting and provide added insulation.

Why use Panel Systems?
At Panel Systems, we have decades of experience fabricating products which help our customers create the end product. This brings the following benefits:

  • Expertise – Over 40 years’ experience working with extruded polystyrene, solid grade laminate and other materials.
  • Longevity of service – Panel Systems has been in operation for over 40 years which means services have been refined and our business has stood the test of time.
  • One Stop Shop – Our own in-house CAD department enables us to work closely with our customers to assist in designing customer’s own components.
  • Capability – Both 3 & 5 axis cutting technology is available which means we have the capability to achieve most machining details.

Furniture manufacturers and suppliers

CNC machining is an excellent method of cutting solid grade laminate for both indoor and outdoor furniture components such as table tops. Whether it’s for a one-off piece of furniture or a full restaurant fit-out with bistro tables, Panel Systems can employ its suite of CNC machines to fulfil the order quickly and to precise specifications.

Panel Systems are able to incorporate bespoke / branded designs CNC machined into the laminate surface, from distinct branding to grooves that create the appearance of a timber cladding.

Typical markets we can also supply

Panel Systems staff have years of experience using CNC machining to cut solid grade laminate for various markets, including:

  • Toilet Cubicles
  • Locker doors
  • Changing room furniture
  • Medical Equipment
  • Children’s playground panels
  • Indoor / Outdoor table surfacing
  • Retail display areas
  • Van Conversions
  • Specialist Automotive panels

Bespoke projects

Our experienced CNC operators are also able to provide useful and effective input for any bespoke projects you may have. Whether it’s underfloor heating, lightweight panels or something completely different, Panel Systems can provide both a range of materials and the CNC expertise to analyse the problem and offer made-to-measure solutions.

CNC machining can be provided for the following applications:

  • leisure vehicle interiors
  • Fixed outside furniture
  • Indoor furniture
  • Bathroom pod panels
  • Children’s playground towers
  • Feature panels for retail kiosks

Available materials

We have the ability to supply and cut a wide range of materials for a number of purposes including:

  • Ravatherm XPS Insulation (Formerly Styrofoam)
  • Plywood / MDF
  • Aluminium composites
  • ABS
  • Perspex
  • Solid grade Laminate – brands include: Formica, Abet, Greenlam, Trespa, Fundermax, Polyrey, Sonae & Pfleiderer

Need More Help?

The Panel Systems staff have extensive knowledge and experience across a wide range of materials and industries. Whatever stage of the process you are at, we can help you to deliver your material on time and to the correct specifications.

Further Resources