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The Value of Precision Machining in Manufacturing

Friday, September 8th, 2017

As companies are seeking to survive and thrive in an increasingly competitive international marketplace, precision machining in manufacturing is becoming increasingly important. These production methods can make a huge difference to the quality of products, which helps them stand out in a positive way.

The ways that the likes of CNC milling and grinding – both precision machining methods – help companies during the manufacturing process are numerous and significant. Although precision machining is a relatively recent development – gaining particular prominence over the past decade – many of the most cutting edge products seen today are a result of these methods.

The principal way that this manufacturing method stands out from conventional production methods is that there is a heavy reliance on computers to make calculations and deliver very precise and accurate work. This differs significantly from manual machining, which was previously the method of production of choice worldwide.

Precision machining techniques such as CNC milling and grinding are advantageous because they significantly reduce the scope for human error. With manual manufacture, a higher margin of error is present, which can lead to varying quality of products manufactured. This in itself can have a negative effect for a number of reasons.

Firstly, this can mean that variation in product quality can lead to a poor reputation of the brand producing the items. Brands aim to build up an image of reliability and consistency, and products of varying quality due to human error in production can work against the efforts made to cultivate this image.

Secondly, products of a varying quality can have a negative effect on performance, which in some cases is absolutely critical. Examples of this include in the aerospace and motorsports industries, where products and parts manufactured need to perform as well as possible each and every time – in the worst case scenarios, accidents and critical equipment failure can occur.

For this reason, precision machining eliminates a margin of error that is present with solely human, manual production. With all necessary calculations made extremely accurately and precisely by computers, the scope of human error is virtually eliminated, although skilled engineers will of course have to oversee and manage the entire manufacturing process.

It is also worth noting that the fact of using complex computer-operated precision machining such as CNC milling and turning means that the production process is often significantly faster, mostly because there is less manual work to be done, which is limited by the number of manual workers and the number of tasks that they can physically perform to a high standard each and every day.

Machines are reliant only on a power supply and can therefore perform routine and repetitive tasks to a consistent quality time and time again, often at a drastically increased pace, leading to far greater productivity. This means that tight deadlines for urgent production of items can be met in a punctual manner, without sacrificing product quality – and in fact even improving it.

It should also be noted that – for the time being at least – the benefits of precision machining are not open to all companies, as purchasing these machines or outsourcing to a contract manufacturer that specialises in high quality precision machining still comes at a price. This is changing, but for now companies can still gain a competitive edge by employing these manufacturing methods.

The use of computers and complex computer calculations in manufacturing has overall improved the accuracy of the mechanical parts produced, and has significantly reduced the margin of error that was typically present with solely manual production.

Not only has this reduced waste, but has meant that higher quality and far more reliable products are able to be manufactured, giving any company that employs these methods a more trustworthy reputation and a competitive edge over industry rivals.

What Are the Key Benefits of Electrical Discharge Machining?

Friday, September 8th, 2017

Electrical Discharge Machining – often referred to as simply EDM – is a widely used manufacturing technique that is used to create certain shapes and work with typically difficult materials that more conventional mechanical machining techniques cannot. Although all techniques have their advantages and disadvantages, EDM has certain benefits that make it a popular machining method.

One of the main advantages of EDM is that it can be used to create shapes from a variety of different – and generally very difficult – materials, including hard substances such as Stellite, Nitralloy, Tungsten Carbide and several more. Whereas other machining methods may be ineffective here, Electrical Discharge Machining can be very successful, and is therefore a method of choice.

As a result, parts manufactured by this particular method are sought after in various industries, including the aerospace, electronics, defence and automobile sectors. This particular method can allow very specialised and essential components to be manufactured, especially where traditional and conventional methods fail to deliver.

This is important as many of the industries above strive not only to innovate and provide new, more effective products on a frequent basis, but they also require high quality parts made of very specific materials. Having a tool on hand that is capable of meeting the diverse and highly specific needs of these industries can mean that complex and difficult designs can become reality.

The next major advantage of this particular technique is that it can create very complex shapes, whereas other more conventional methods cannot. This is another very distinct benefit which means that this particular production method is very popular with industries such as the aerospace and motorsports sectors where specialisation and precision are very important indeed.

This leads on to another benefit, which is that due to the ease by which this particular method can create complex shapes, production of components and parts is much more efficient than with conventional machining techniques. Whereas other tools may create these more complex shapes with difficulty, EDM is a faster and far more efficient solution.

For many companies and manufacturers this is an extremely attractive quality, as it means that projects are completed in much smaller amounts of time, and that brand new products can be released onto the market much more rapidly than ever before. There will also be less time and money poured into the production process when it can move along far more rapidly.

In addition to being able to create complex shapes with ease, EDM is also used for creating fine holes, which again is not normally a simple task with other production and machining techniques. Holes created can be of any width, and the unique techniques that are employed with EDM make it possible to obtain absolute precision.

Again, this level of precision and the efficiency of this method where others fail are extremely valuable to numerous companies in various industries. Again, sectors which require specialisation, absolute accuracy and reliability such as the electronics, automobile and aerospace industries are very likely to place value in the benefits of Electrical Discharge Machining.

Finally, another major advantage of this particular method is that it allows for a good or very good surface finish, as it relies on a no-contact technique. Furthermore, this no-contact method is highly suited to fragile parts or delicate materials which would otherwise be distorted or damaged by more forceful techniques.

These are just a few of the many advantages of EDM, including the ability to create complex and precise shapes right through to the ability to work with very hard materials. For these reasons, this production method remains highly popular with a number of manufacturers in various industries, and as yet is unrivalled in its unique capabilities.