What Is CNC Milling?

CNC milling is an industrial process that produces a number of the products modern society relies on. From power plant components and auto parts to decorative pieces and jewelry, the products of this process are all around. Yet, many do not know what it is or how it works. Here is a basic overview of CNC milling and its uses.An image of a machine used in CNC milling

The Basics

Milling is an old term that is often associated with the production of lumber. The term encompasses any process where a raw material (i.e. wood, metal, stone, plastic) is fed into a machine and rotary cutters and lathes shape the piece to a predetermined form. CNC stands for computer numerical control. CNC milling links the cutting and shaping components of the machine to a computer that can precisely control the tools.

History of CNC Milling

After World War II, automation in manufacturing took off. Before the advent of computers, many industries experimented with numerical control using punch cards to set coordinates along a milling machine’s axes. Gradually, numerical control evolved into computerized numerical control as the processing power of computers improved. CNC milling technology was largely supported by the Department of Defense for use in aerospace manufacturing. After proving viable in the manufacture of planes, the technology filtered into a number of other manufacturing fields.

Modern Use

Today, computers and CNC milling equipment continue to grow together in sophistication. Industrial programmers can now create 3D models of the finished product and tweak it on a screen before ever producing a single unit. Modern equipment can accurately shape materials to within a thousandth of a millimeter. This means that CNC milling is no longer confined to large items. It is used in an ever-expanding variety of industries and can be applied to smaller items like gun parts and power tools.

Though often overlooked, CNC milling is essential to many industrial processes that make modern life possible.

Plastic Dunnage: What Is It & Why Does It Exist?

Dunnage is any material used to protect or secure cargo during transport by air, land, or water. Dunnage bags are frequently used to secure cargo, but dunnage can also be manufactured in the form of boards, planks, and straps. Plastic dunnage products like pallets and corrugated containers can be specially manufactured for custom solutions.An image of commonly used plastic dunnage

How Dunnage Works

Dunnage prevents one piece of cargo from rubbing against another, fills space that could otherwise permit cargo to shift, and keeps cargo separated and preserved. Usually, dunnage is made of scrap materials that have been recycled or repurposed and will be discarded upon arrival at the final destination. However, dunnage bags and custom trays are built to be reusable for added value. Some popular materials that are used for dunnage include polyethylene, urethane, and foam.

Plastic Dunnage

Plastic is ideal for dunnage products such as corrugated containers, pallet boxes, and plastic totes that can be cut to fit standard or custom dimensions. Additionally, plastic dunnage is used for returnable containers, custom reusable trays, and similar packaging products for handling and automated manufacturing process applications.

Plastic dunnage is also used to manufacture shipping containers and fabricate spacer boards upon which large items can be stacked. Custom plastic pallets are a shipping alternative to wood because this grade of plastic, with five times the strength of wood, does not cave under intense pressure from items stacked on top of it.

Plastic dunnage is massively versatile and serves a wide spectrum of industries for transportation and logistic applications in agriculture, aerospace, automotive manufacturing, and beyond.

Airmate Cornhole Tournament

Cornhole Tournament 2016 005

Here’s to the champions of the Airmate Cornhole Tournament!

In first place accepting the gold medals are Ben Bucklew and Todd Moyer. Following them in second place with the silver medals are Jon Dubois and Kyle Babcock, and finally, those accepting the bronze medals are Brent Sheehan and Bob Duchene. Fantastic job guys!


Airmate specializes in precision CNC milling and sawing of plastics. Utilizing a wide variety of sources, Airmate can supply virtually any type of plastic. We work with materials from .010” thick styrene up to 4” thick UHMW, and anything in between. Our machines can accommodate material blanks up to 60” x 120”.

Currently we have 10 3-axis CNC routers in operation, with more than 100 available cutting heads. Table sizes vary, but include a Wesflex with a single table size of 51” X 108”, as well as a Wesflex with dual tables at 75” x 75” each. To complement our CNC machining capability, we also have a 65” Polar Shear with a micro-cut, as well as a CNC saw for precision cutting.

Airmate’s experienced, dedicated staff looks forward to serving your plastic needs. Select one of our processes below to learn more information about that particular process including our specific machinery, products we have created, industries we have experience in and overall information on the process.