Case Study: Custom Machining Delivers Unique Knurling Style

When a leading U.S. manufacturer of high-end kitchen appliances sought a unique knurled handle design for their premium oven ranges, dishwashers, and refrigeration units, they came up short when metal fabrication vendors couldn’t meet both design and production expectations. So they turned to the knurling and machining experts at Mills Products for a cost-effective solution.

The Challenge: There’s More to a Handle Pattern Than Meets the Eye

The OEM was looking for a knurled pattern to differentiate their handle from other more standard forms. The customer wanted an eye-catching design, and they were having difficulty finding a vendor who could create a knurled pattern that wouldn’t be prohibitively expensive to produce. 

The OEM needed the metal engineering and design expertise to help them:

  • Create a unique, knurled pattern  
  • Develop a machining process to create the new look 
  • Ensure the new design could be cost-effectively produced 

The Custom Machining Solution 

With most appliance handles, knurling patterns are standard. The Mills engineering team designed a unique knurled pattern for a more distinctive handle aesthetic. After collaborating with the OEM, the Mills team prototyped a special CNC lathe to bore and face the part to create the unique design. 

Boring and facing the metal piece also created a handle that was easier to fit with end caps for assembly, which made the part easier to mass produce. In one solution, Mills created an efficient work cell that incorporated the new lathe to eliminate the need for additional machining stations.

The Bottom-Line Results

After testing and retesting to ensure production efficiency, Mills delivered a never-seen-before handle that exceeded expectations, in both form and function.

This end result was thanks to:

  • Extensive collaboration between the Mills team and the OEM for a cost-effective machining solution
  • Design know-how to create a handle design to please even the most discerning appliance consumers
  • Engineering expertise and experience to quickly ascertain appropriate design approaches for mass production

Without this metal engineering expertise, the unique knurled handle could not have been cost-effectively produced by the OEM. 

Mills Products can identify opportunities like these to increase your overall value by adding functionality to parts you may not have anticipated in your original designs while cutting down on tooling time and saving money.

To learn how we can leverage our expert metal engineering expertise to your competitive advantage, please contact us today.