The Story of CNC Inserts: How It All Began


CNC Inserts have revolutionized the manufacturing industry and have become an integral part of the machining process. From creating complex geometries to improving surface finish, CNC inserts have made it possible to achieve precision machining with minimal effort. But have you ever wondered how it all began? In this blog post, we will take a trip down memory lane and explore the history of CNC inserts, from their inception to their current use in modern-day manufacturing.

The Birth of CNC Inserts

The development of CNC inserts can be traced back to the early 20th century when the first industrial revolution was underway. During this time, machine tools were becoming more advanced, and the need for precision machining was on the rise. However, traditional cutting tools were not efficient and accurate enough to meet the demands of the manufacturing industry.

It was not until the 1920s when the first cemented carbide cutting tool was developed by Krupp, a German industrial company. This breakthrough led to the invention of the first-ever indexable insert by Sandvik, a Swedish engineering company, in 1942. The indexable insert was a game-changer as it allowed for easy and quick replacement of the cutting edge, which significantly reduced downtime and increased productivity.

The next significant breakthrough came in the 1960s when General Electric developed polycrystalline diamond (PCD) and cubic boron nitride (CBN) inserts. These materials were harder and more wear-resistant than carbide, and they allowed for faster cutting speeds and longer tool life, which further improved productivity.

The Evolution of CNC Inserts

As computer technology advanced, so did the CNC inserts. In the 1970s, computer-aided design (CAD) and computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) systems were introduced, which allowed for the creation of more complex geometries and tighter tolerances. This led to the development of specialized inserts for specific machining operations such as threading, drilling, and milling.

In the 1980s, the first coated inserts were introduced, which improved their wear resistance and allowed for higher cutting speeds. In the 1990s, the use of ceramic inserts became popular, which offered even higher wear resistance and improved surface finish. Today, CNC inserts are available in a wide range of materials, coatings, and geometries, making them suitable for a variety of machining applications.

The Future of CNC Inserts

As technology continues to advance, so will the CNC inserts. The use of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning algorithms will allow for more efficient and accurate machining processes. The development of nanotechnology will also lead to the creation of even harder and wear-resistant materials for CNC inserts.

Moreover, with the rise of Industry 4.0, CNC inserts will become an integral part of the smart factory. The integration of sensors and IoT technology will allow for real-time monitoring of tool wear and predictive maintenance, which will further improve productivity and reduce downtime.


The history of CNC inserts is a testament to human innovation and the constant pursuit of perfection. From the first cemented carbide cutting tool to the latest AI-powered inserts, CNC inserts have come a long way. Today, they are an essential tool in the manufacturing industry, and their importance will only grow as technology continues to advance. As we look to the future, one thing is certain - CNC inserts will continue to play a vital role in shaping the manufacturing industry.