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Precision Machining

Updated on September 21, 2010

Precision Machining Processes

When it comes to machined products and assembly, there is always a need for precision machining. If units are not manufactured correctly or put together right, they are essentially worthless. Therefore, a machine shop that can deliver flawless products is always in high demand. However, when thinking about the term precision, it also helps to consider whether the company can deliver their products on time. Having the right equipment and capabilities is a big part of always being able to meet deadlines. Typically this means having the following capabilities: CNC machining, CNC milling, vertical machining, and five axis machining.

CNC Machining

Computer numerical controlled machining is a process where programs can control complex equipment like turners, grinders, lathes, and many others. The primary advantage to these devices is that, if they are programmed correctly, they will be more precise than if they were operated by people. In the past, operators still had to figure out the punch tapes by hand, a process which was still time consuming. When CAD software became available, the programming aspect became much easier and more cost effective. Investing in CNC machining equipment is really the only way for companies to stay competitive in the marketplace. Likewise, the products created by CNC machines like lathes, drills, and saws are always going to work better and be more desired by consumers.

CNC Milling

If CNC machining is one important aspect of precision machining, CNC milling would have to be another. Milling machines are so important that they are almost synonymous with the term machining centers. Milling machines are similar to drills but differ in that they can move solid materials radially against the cutter. One of the main benefits of using CNC milling is that you can have added features like an automatic tool changer (ATC). Using this device is highly beneficial because it allows for quick changeovers to different production runs. This allows a greater flexibility for machining centers when it comes to their turnaround time as well as the amount of clients they can have. As with other CNC machining devices, mills are designed to provide the highest level of accuracy.

Vertical Machining

For most machine shops, vertical machining is the primary type that is employed. In general, lathes, mills, and other equipment where the cutting tool moves up and down are less expensive than their horizontal counterparts. This means that a company can often afford more equipment, which means they can handle higher production runs. Vertical machining functions just as well as horizontal machining, too. The only downside is that there is the potential for shavings to gather around the tool and hamper the quality of the cutting. However, a diligent and knowledgeable team will know enough to not let this interference occur. Any machine shop that invests heavily in worthwhile equipment will certainly hire a high quality staff.

Five Axis Machining

Although many fine products can be made with traditional CNC mills and other related equipment, there is often a need for more advanced technology. Machines that incorporate five axis machining are able to achieve a higher level of precision. This is possible because the additional two axes allow for more control of the tilt of the tool and rotation of any horizontally mounted work piece. Because of this additional control and rotation, the need to readjust or change tools is eliminated. Overall the amount of time it takes to setup an operation is greatly reduced, which in the end will save money. Five axis machining also gives you a nicer finish to surfaces, which cuts down on time and money spent on manual labor. Altogether, this type of machining is a superior method when complex procedures are required.

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