CIRP Encyclopedia of Production Engineering

2019 Edition
| Editors: Sami Chatti, Luc Laperrière, Gunther Reinhart, Tullio Tolio

Computer Numerical Control

  • Yusuf AltintasEmail author
Reference work entry



Computer numerical control (CNC) means the digital control of machine tool units that consist of series of integrated mechanical actuators, electrical or electrohydraulic servomotors, power amplifiers, position and velocity sensors, and a dedicated computer running under a real-time operating system.

Theory and Application


CNC systems control the moving units of a machine tool. The moving units are classified under feed and spindle drives, and auxiliary components such as tool and pallet changers, coolant pumps, and chip conveyors. Feed and spindle drives require smooth position, speed, and acceleration control which are carried out by the trajectory generation and digital control algorithms executed in fixed time intervals by dedicated computers. The auxiliary units are activated by programmable logical controllers (PLCs) that operate on the basis of ON/OFF logic (Altintas 2000)....

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Copyright information

© CIRP 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Applied Science, Department Mechanical Engineering/MAL- Manufacturing Automation LaboratoryUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada

Section editors and affiliations

  • Hans-Christian Möhring
    • 1
  1. 1.Institut für WerkzeugmaschinenUniversität StuttgartStuttgartGermany