Selection of the Proper Machining Process
Selection of the proper machining process and equipment depends on the specifications of the part. Typically, some combination of milling, turning and grinding is used to manufacture a part which then might require heat treating, anodizing, black oxiding, painting or some other finishing operations. Dimensional tolerances, which can be as tight as 0.0002", need to be considered in making machining choices. Tight tolerances drive up costs.
Single or low volume machine parts for spare parts or prototype parts are typically manufactured using conventional machine tools - milling machines, lathes and grinders. Higher volume parts often used by OEMs are usually machined by a CNC machine tool programmed for exact repeatability. Appropriately designed tooling often will enable machining of several parts at once, and dual pallets allow the operator to set up the next group of parts while the first group is being machined, thereby increasing efficiency. Any type of metal can be machined from aluminum to brass and gray and ductile iron, or castings and bar stock. Plastics and other nonmetallic materials can also be machined.
In addition to the manufacture of machined parts, the full-service company also offers rebuild services as well as subassembly, assembly or completed machines. Rebuilding machinery involves complete dismantling, replacement of worn parts, electric upgrade and the addition of new features.
Milling machine capacity can be 64" x 32" x 30" vertical and 40" x 31-1/2" x 31-1/2" horizontal. Other capacities in a full-service facility include a CNC lathe. Maximum turning diameter of 59", length of 160", surface grinding capability of 12" x 48" and external cylindrical grinding capability of 12" x 30" are offered.
Screw machining is a specialized sub-set of machining, typically applied to very small parts with very high volumes. These applications should be ordered from someone who has specialized screw machine capabilities.
To successfully compete in the conventional and CNC machining arena the manufacturer must be able to recognize and operate with state-of-the-art technology in quality, estimating, and computer-aided design and manufacturing.
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