Engineering firms frequently contract CNC machine shop facilities to handle their manufacturing requirements. This simple, cost-effective management lets you concentrate on important engineering and design concerns.
But do you evaluate the skills and methods of operation of any CNC machine shop facility owner before you associate with them? Finding a precision machine business that guarantees timely delivery of high-quality parts at an affordable price is one thing. But whether or not that store can keep its promise is an entirely different matter. Before beginning a project with a precision machine company, be sure to find out important details about their operation:
Technology and Capacities
You must ascertain whether the shop’s tools and capabilities are appropriate for your parts. If the shop predominantly employs outdated equipment and you have a complex part, they most likely won’t be able to attain the required level of precision. On the other hand, you’ll spend more money than you need to if the business solely employs high-tech tools to work on your simple part.
Another critical factor is the inspection equipment. Although the business can machine a part, can they check it to ensure it complies with all specifications? They will require a coordinate measuring machine (CMM) on hand for precise items.
When it comes to quality, precision machine shops follow the rule of 10, which states that the equipment used to evaluate a feature must be ten times more exact than the feature it is examining.
What Kinds of Parts Do They Make?
Ask the machine shop which industries they serve primarily to understand further what items they usually produce. For instance, if they’re a top-tier aerospace machine shop, you may anticipate them to mill components with precise tolerances, have a wide range of finishers, and charge more prices for projects to represent their superior service. Although generalist shops may have more affordable prices, they are probably not ideal for parts with tighter tolerances than 0.005″ because of their limitations as specialists.
Lead Time and Capacity
Lead time and capacity are two crucial aspects to consider concerning one another. Although a precision machine shop may advertise a 2-week lead time, lead times are calculated from the day a job begins. A “2-week lead time” suddenly becomes more like six weeks if the shop’s capacity is poor or nonexistent; they might not be able to begin working on the project for another month.
Remember that a shop with a limited capacity at a given time may nevertheless be a fantastic partner for precision machining. Businesses with low capacity are frequently in high demand because they are so good at what they do. It’s worth talking to a particular company about what they can do to address your production difficulties and get significant value from a high-end shop.
Last but not least, check the certification of the precision machine company. Please inquire about the shop’s ERP system and how they get materials. You will feel more at ease if a superb precision machine company has rock-solid procedures.