Custom machining involves the creation of components that fill a specific purpose. In some cases, this approach to precision machining is necessary because original parts are no longer available. At other times, the machining effort is geared toward the creation of prototypes or a custom piece of equipment that will only be used for a limited number of purposes. Whatever the intended use, the key to creating those parts is a schedule that is logical, properly planned, and designed to ensure time and resources are not wasted. Here are some of the elements that will go into planning the schedule.
Reviewing the Specifications
Before the actual machining process gets underway, it's important to review all the specifications for the component. Not one detail can be overlooked during this stage. Even if something about the specifications is no more than a millimeter off, the result is components that cannot be used.
Confirming the specifications must also include reviewing the details entered into any software that is used to guide the machining process. While the original specifications may be correct, a data entry error will also lead to finished work that serves no purpose.
All Materials on Hand
What type of metal or plastic will be used in the creation of those custom parts? How much product is needed to manufacture the required number of components? The last thing that needs to happen is run out of raw materials before the project is completed. Planning ahead and having at least 10% more materials on hand than should be required ensures the production process will not come to a halt. Even if something does come up and there is a small amount of waste created, having a cushion in terms of raw materials ensures everything goes according to the schedule.
Quality Assurance is Part of the Planning
Quality checks and balances must be included in the overall planning. The goal is to include random checks and testing at various points in the production process. These may be automated and managed by software or include manual inspections. Doing so makes it possible to identify any anomalies in the production process, resolve the underlying issue, and ensure the manufacturing remains on track.
Inspection of Finished Goods is Essential
The production process is not over until the finished goods are inspected and found to be in compliance with the quality and other standards set by the customer. This means using various means to ensure each unit is exactly as it is supposed to be. Depending on the number of units ordered and the number of batches it takes to fill the order, this may involve a procedure for spot checking so many units per batch. While it may seem like time wasted, confirming the accuracy and the quality of those goods now means keeping a customer happy and coming back the next time some type of custom machine work is needed.
Remember that custom machining solutions are not just about what happens while the units are being produced. It also has to do with making sure the production schedule is planned with care, the materials are on hand, and the quality is assured during and after the production of each unit. Doing so results in building a reputation for excellence and gaining the respect of customers who are happy to recommend the machining company to others in their respective industries.