Metal machining is a process that takes a raw piece of metal and cuts it into its final shape and size via a controlled material-removal process. This is referred to as subtractive manufacturing, since it removes excess materials from the part; the opposite process is referred to as additive manufacturing.
Metal machining services can significantly improve the ROI of a manufacturing project by streamlining the process and reducing lead time and costs. Read on to learn more about the bottom-line benefits of metal machining and how metal machining can optimize manufacturing production.
Metal Machining Techniques
There are multiple types of metal machining services offered by full-service metal manufacturers. Some of the most important methods for improving metal ROI include:
- Metal Drilling and Tapping: Taps are used to create screw threads in a piece of metal, while drill bits use a two-edged rotating device to create a hole. Usually tapping and drilling are only used to create round holes, which contrasts with punching.
- Metal Punching: Punching leaves a hole in the metal piece by removing a scrap slug with a die. Punching quickly creates holes of varying shapes and sizes at an economical cost.
- Metal Sawing and Cutting: These two processes cut metal down to the proper size and shape using a sax or blade. Other technologies, such as laser and plasma cutting, may also be used in more advanced facilities.
- Metal Tube Bending: Tubes must be bent at precisely the right curvature to maintain structural integrity while fitting into the correct placement. Several techniques can be used to accomplish this, including RAM-type bending, roll bending, compression bending, and rotary draw bending.
- Automated Deburring and Sanding: Most metal pieces become burred during the machining process due to sharp edges or compressed material. Deburring removes slag and other buildup, while sanding smoothes the piece down and blunts sharp edges, making them safe to handle.
ROI Benefits of Metal Machining Services
If you’re wondering what value metal machining might bring to your next project, there are four main advantages that our customers enjoy:
By having so many different kinds of metal machining services under one roof, full-service metal manufacturers open up a range of options to their customers. For example, many potential customers might think that a part isn’t feasible, when in truth their “impossible” job can be accomplished by combining multiple machining processes, or by using a single, more advanced machine not found in most fabrication shops.
More Streamlined Process
Having one machine shop to do it all streamlines the process for both the metal manufacturer and the customer. For example, at Mills Products we can often use one machine to finish the job. When one of our clients needed to attach an endcap to a tube, we were able to do it all via one CNC machine, simplifying the process and increasing ROI, while delivering exactly what the customer needed.
Your company’s industrial designers shouldn’t have to be engineering experts. A quality full-service metal manufacturer will have plenty of expert engineers on hand that will determine the necessary machining processes and also address any potential safety issues or design flaws (such as making sure that a machined part doesn’t have any leftover sharp edges that could cut someone).
Reduced Lead Time and Costs
Offering both traditional and non-traditional machining services reduces the time needed to machine a part, as well as overhead acquisition, operational, maintenance, and decommission costs. Both of these factors directly improve the customer’s ROI and also allow the metal manufacturer to complete a higher number of jobs within a given amount of time.
Not all fabricators offer value-added metal machining, so if that capability is important to your company, be sure to keep it in mind as you consider vendors for your next project. If you’d like to know more about our value-added metal machining services and how we can leverage it to optimize your production, contact us today.