Wednesday, May 2, 2012
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Yes, you can get tighter tolerances and improved performance and cost savings! Awhile back we posted some information on about achieving “Extreme Tolerances” on our Swiss screw machine components through our proprietary polishing, grinding and lapping processes. We can tighten tolerances beyond what our customer thinks possible and STILL offer a cost savings to them.
To illustrate the point:
One of our customers requires small pins in high volume (millions + per year). The surface finish of these needles must be perfect (1.6 microinches) and the geometrical form and concentricity tolerance is an extremely tight tolerance (0.3 microinches). Previously, the customer used a specific type of lapping process which still required another process to insure parts met the specifications. Needless to say, the process was time consuming and expensive!
We worked closely with this customer trying different types of grinding medium and lapping processes, but still could not quite reach the demandingly high precision tolerances needed. UNTIL…that “light bulb” moment when we discovered that instead of grinding, we could POLISH our way to these tight tolerances using a polishing grindstone.
Lapping our Swiss screw machine parts got us the surface finish we wanted, but caused the screw machine components to be out of concentricity. But, when we polished these tight tolerance parts, we achieved the critical surface finish and the concentricity of the component IMPROVED over what the customer currently received.
We saved the customer over 65% in Swiss screw machining costs AND improved the surface finish and critical concentricity, simply by eliminating a process!
Another added benefit? A simplified production process assures them of on-time delivery – no delays due to multiple processes!
Sometimes less IS more!
Friday, June 12, 2009
Renovations are still taking place, but things are really beginning to come together. We are still moving and re-moving files, shelving and boxes of our Swiss screw machine parts to allow for some final electrical/carpentry/painting work in our warehouse. Sometimes you can forget that those small, tight tolerance components can really start to add up to some significant weight when packed in a box (no matter how small!). Our first UPS man who had never had a machine shop on his route called our packages “little anchors” and that’s exactly what they are!
After 10 years at our old rented location, it was time to move into our “own” space. We have 2 floors – one dedicated to our sales/customer service offices and the bottom floor for warehousing and our Quality Assurance department and, of course, lots of archives. This move has allowed us to take a new look at things – we’ve lightened ourselves considerably by getting rid of things we didn’t use and are keeping our eye out for things that can make us more efficient and better able to serve our customers.
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
One day Hans sent Jacques his latest accomplishment that was so small Jacques had to use a tool maker’s microscope just to see what was so special. It was creative indeed. He found multiple turned diameters down as small as .008” and a mini knurl on the outside diameter, all of which was nearly undetectable to the naked eye since the O.D. was only .015” (that’s 1/64th of an inch). When Hans received what appeared to be his part back, he called Jacques to say “See, I AM better than you”, but his old friend told him to take a closer look under a scope. Sure enough, there it was - a perfect .004” hole drilled right through the middle!
This is the stuff of folk lore, yet it is an accurate portrayal of the machinist’s mentality in the High Precision machining world.
Today, any company in any country with the resources can buy a machine for manufacturing parts and even have it delivered setup to make a specific part. Add material and off you go making parts. Sharpen tools on a regular basis and maintain machine and you’ll make lot of parts with few issues for many years.
Craftsmanship (a.k.a Experience) however is still a major factor when it comes to high precision requirements. If the end user requires an 8 micro inch finish on the outside or even on an inside surface area, it’s a different scenario. Experience with that material and machine becomes vital to meeting the requirement consistently and to the end users satisfaction.
Micro Precision prides itself in manufacturing nearly 90% of all its parts complete on machine with no machining secondaries. This includes holding tolerances of ±.0002” on the machine and finishes as tight as 4 micro inches on brass and slightly higher on steels when required. And yes, if we can buy a .004-.006” drill, we can drill the hole through a part .015” in diameter. Pretty easily in fact! In addition deep hole drilling in brass to 15:1 (Length to hole diameter) even 20:1 remains one of our strengths. Less is always more in terms handling and machining steps.
The introduction of computer controlled machinery years ago and which now dominates the machining world has made for faster setup times and been a big help in engaging our computer focused youth in the metal machining market. However, just setting up the program is elementary compared to perfecting speed, part finish, and tolerance control and chip & burr removal. Like an auto racing team we are always looking to gain speed without sacrificing quality.
We routinely assist customers with part design before and during production runs to try and minimize cost while improving performance and quality. Feel free to contact us if you need any assistance.
Thursday, January 15, 2009
Unfortunately “free machining” isn’t an offer for free precision parts, but a term often used to describe “machine friendly material”. However, the exact definition of “free machining” is subjective. The http://www.businessdirectory.com/ describes “Free Machining” as:
Characteristic of an metal alloy that, when subjected to machining operations, consumes lower power, gives better surface finish, produces small metal chips, and results in longer tool life. Alloy M25 (beryllium alloy of copper), for example, is a free machining type of copper.
CDA 360 Chips CDA 385 Chips
About.com adds that the addition of sulfur or lead to steel or brass, lead and bismuth to aluminum and sulfur or selenium to stainless steel makes material easier to machine.
As new markets develop and a concern for the environment grows, certain chemicals and elements such as lead are being reduced or eliminated from many materials. Because of this, in part, today’s machinist is challenged to find ways to machine high precision components from materials that do not meet the “free machining” description. By the way: All our raw materials are RoHS compliant.
Our Material Page lists the various materials we machine. Most material machinability charts compare only alloys from within the same material group such as all stainless steels or all copper alloys. Our chart provides a general guideline that covers all material types and their relative machinability to brass. All rankings are based on how a specific material compares to the top free machining brass alloys.
The chart is not based on scientific data, but rather our machining experience based on the group of high precision machines we utilize. The following factors are considered in our ranking, all of which ultimately affect cost.
1. Straight Machine/Part Speed (parts per minute)
2. Tool Sharpening (parts per day)
3. Tool replacement such as thread dies or special cutters (down time / parts per week)
4. Ability to cut, drill or turn material cleanly with little or no residual burr
5. Size of chips created (removable from parts and cutting tools easily and consistently)
6. Raw Material Consistency (some materials can vary greatly from one lot to another based on
the chemical composition “tolerance”)
7. Part Design (add a deep hole drilling requirement and material machinability becomes critical to speed)
These items come into play for any company machining metals, but will vary based on the type of parts, machines used and experience. The majority of our machines are high precision CNC’s and the traditional high precision automatic lathes often referred to “Swiss Automatics”. While our High Precision machines can produce precision parts with extraordinarily tight tolerances, they are not always “strong enough” for “hogging” through the more difficult, gummy materials.
With our new group of high precision CNC’s, the additional strength has made the transition to “non free machining” materials smoother. Still, certain machine models are better suited for certain materials. Matching the right machine with the right part and material is critical to creating a high quality process with the lowest cost.
Many of our customers use our experience with materials to help design components that can optimize machine speed, quality and and price while giving them the part characteristics they need. If you have any questions about raw material selection, please feel free to contact us. We can offer pricing for multiple materials for engineers and buyers starting a new project.
Friday, January 9, 2009
If you would like to receive these email updates, please Sign Up!
If you know of any engineers or other colleagues that would like a brochure, just drop us a note and we will get one out to them right away.
Industries Served: We meet the needs of the most demanding industries including aerospace, medical, dental, electronic, telecommunications, automotive and gauging/instrumentation.
Capabilities: Standard to tight tolerances (+/- .0001”), Critical surface finish, Complex Geometry, Knurling, Threading and More! Diameters from .008” to 1.25”. Most parts made complete on the machine to save you time and money!
Responsiveness: Call and talk to us today! Micro takes customer service to a whole new level with personal attention to every order. If you have one part or many with us, we manage your account so that you don’t have to!
Optional Stocking Program: Take advantage of volume pricing without having to take them all at once. We work with you to create a schedule that fits YOUR needs!