Machined Components – Heart and Soul of the Manufacturing Industry

06 June, 2022
Machined Components – Heart and Soul of the Manufacturing Industry

Machined components are all such components that have been built using the machining process with the help of tools like milling, shaping, drilling, etc. The machining process is carried out on raw materials to give it different shapes and sizes. These components are widely used across all industrial products and became popular after the industrial revolution of the 18th century. Machined components vary in size ranging from a small watch gear to a gigantic turbine. Precision machined components are of great importance in almost every industry to deliver excellent performance. Machined components are greatly in use across diverse industries, from tiny metal fasteners to aircraft engine components, all such components are built using the machining process. 

Machining plays a vital role in manufacturing industries, crafting components for aerospace, automotive, consumer products, and medical applications with efficiency and precision. Constant advancements in technology enhance machining capabilities, contributing to the evolution of modern manufacturing. Common materials that are used to produce machined components include metals, plastics, and composites. Precision and accuracy are crucial in these processes, ensuring desired specifications are met. Machining involves various techniques to create precisely machined components such as:

  • Turning – Turning involves rotating a workpiece called a lathe, and a cutting tool removes material to shape it into cylinders. This method is commonly applied to manufacture cylindrical components such as shafts and rods. Turning finds extensive use in producing items like bolts, screws, and bushings.
  • Milling – Milling employs rotary cutters to eliminate material from a workpiece, crafting intricate shapes, slots, and holes. This process accommodates various directions, encompassing vertical, horizontal, and multi-axis milling. Renowned for its versatility, milling plays a crucial role in crafting diverse components like gears, brackets, and engine parts.
  • Drilling – Drilling, a machining method, forms holes in a workpiece with a rotating drill bit pressing against it. It is a basic process employed to create holes in components such as engine blocks, panels, and structural elements.
  • Grinding – Grinding deploys abrasive particles to achieve tight tolerances and smooth finishes, crucial in precision machining for components like bearings, molds, and cutting tools.
  • Electrical Discharge Machining – Electrical Discharge Machining (EDM) removes material using electrical discharges, suitable for conductive materials, producing intricate shapes with high precision. It is commonly applied in the manufacturing of molds, dies, and components with complex geometries.
  • Laser Cutting – Laser Cutting utilizes a focused laser beam for non-contact cutting, producing clean and precise cuts. This process is widely adopted to design intricate patterns in materials like sheet metal, acrylic, and wood.
  • Computer Numerical Control – CNC Machining, driven by Computer Numerical Control, uses computer programs to control machine tools such as milling, turning, and drilling. It ensures precise and automated production and is widely applied across industries for complex and high-precision components.

Advantages of Machined Parts

Machining supports high-volume production, maintaining consistency. Additionally, it accommodates prototyping, enabling efficient product development. The process is cost-effective for large-scale production runs, minimizing material wastage. CNC technology enhances automation, reducing labour and increasing efficiency. Overall, machined parts provide reliability, durability, and adherence to exact specifications, making them essential for diverse industries seeking quality, consistency, and performance in their manufactured components. Machined parts offer numerous advantages in manufacturing.

  • Precision is a key benefit, ensuring tight tolerances and high accuracy, crucial in industries like aerospace and medicine.
  • Machining allows for a diverse range of shapes and sizes in machined parts. Unlike processes with strict molding design constraints, such as limitations on thin walls and tapering, machined parts have flexibility.
  • Machined parts exhibit both thickness and robustness, while also accommodating fine and intricate features without compromise.
  • Machined parts are cost-effective and well-suited for prototyping since they can be efficiently produced as single, unique pieces.
  • Machining offers a faster alternative to molding, enabling R&D departments to iterate through multiple versions of a part swiftly. This expedites the testing and assessment phase before progressing to production.
  • Versatility allows the machining of various materials, from metals to plastics.
  • Customization is achievable, facilitating unique designs and complex geometries.
  • Superior surface finishes enhance aesthetics and functionality.

Diverse Applications of Machined Components

Machined parts serve a wide array of applications across industries, owing to their adaptability, precision, and capability to manufacture intricate components. Here are notable applications of machining parts:

Aerospace Industry

Widely employed in the aerospace sector for crafting components like engine parts, structural elements, and intricate systems, ensuring high-precision requirements in aircraft and spacecraft manufacturing.

Automotive Industry

Machined components are essential in the production of automotive components, including engine parts, transmission components, brake systems, and various precision parts that are crucial for vehicle functionality.

Medical Devices

Machined parts are critical in the medical field for the development and manufacturing of components such as implants, surgical instruments, prosthetics, and intricate medical device parts, meeting stringent requirements for precision and biocompatibility.

Electronics and Electrical Components

These parts are integral to the production of electronic components, machining is pivotal in crafting connectors, circuit board parts, and housings for electronic devices.

Industrial Machinery

In industrial machinery, machining components play a crucial role in shaping components like gears, bearings, and shafts to precise specifications, ensuring smooth operation and optimal efficiency.

Principles for Designing Machined Parts

In machining, adhering to design for manufacturing (DFM) principles is generally recommended, aligning parts with the intended manufacturing process. However, specific design principles can guide the creation of machined parts:

  • Wall Thickness – Avoid thin walls in machined parts to ensure optimal performance. If thin walls are crucial to your design, consider using injection molding.
  • Undercuts – Undercuts, intricate cuts requiring special tools, necessitate careful design considerations. Dimensions should align with standard sizes, typically ranging from 3 to 40 mm. Efforts can be reduced by minimizing or avoiding undercuts.
  • Cavities, Holes, and Threads – Design cavities and holes with consideration for cutting tools, ensuring depths and diameters adhere to machining capabilities. Fillets are necessary for deeper cavities. Hole depths should not exceed four times the drill bit width, and thread depths should not exceed thrice the diameter.
  • Scale – CNC machined parts are constrained by machine build envelopes, with CNC-milled parts limited to 400 x 350 x 150 mm and turned parts to Ø 500 mm x 1000 mm. Larger dimensions require consultation with machinists.
  • Protrusions – Avoid tall protruding sections with thin walls, as tool vibrations can impact accuracy. Maintain protruding features with a height not exceeding four times their width.

Classification of Machined Components

Machined parts are generally specifically fabricated components using cutting machines like mills, lathes, and routers. Though, all these machines work in different ways but their basic purpose is to cut sections away from a block of material using a sharp cutting tool. Generally made from ferrous and non-ferrous metal, machined components are classified as single machined components, joined machined components, and assembled machined components. Single machined components are made of a single material and have a homogenous shape. Some examples of single machined components are castings and sintered components. Joined machined components consist of two single components connected together by a process like welding, soldering, pressing, etc. or these components are made of several materials like compound castings, bearings, etc. Assembled machined components are made of several components joined together by binders like pins, screws, or spring fits.

Machined Components Considerations

Some of the aspects that need to be considered in machined components include the type of material, machining processes, and the type of machining used. While manufacturing machined components, a few other things also need to be considered such as the amount of scrap, and amount of electrical energy consumed. Some mechanical processes create a lot of waste in the form of solid, liquid, and airborne particulates, all these should be minimized. The designing of the components is another vital consideration, though the design cost is just 5% of the actual production cost of the machined components. Perhaps, perfectly designed machined components save as much as 50% of the production cost and are also effective in:

  • Reducing the requirements of several parts, thereby reducing production cost and manufacturing complications
  • Modular designs of the components simplify the final assembling
  • Machined components optimize part handling for easy and standardized assembling.

Different Materials used to make Machined Components

Machined components are made with a wide gamut of raw materials, as per the needs of diverse industries. Some of the common materials that are used to make machined components are:

  • Austenitic Stainless Steel: This steel is nonmagnetic containing nickel so it is highly corrosion-resistant. Thus, a machined component made from austenitic stainless steel is widely used in food and chemical industries to prevent product contamination from corrosion.
  • Ferritic Stainless Steels: The machined components made with ferritic stainless steel are economical to manufacture and are used in making automobile exhaust components. This steel has low carbon content and is less resistant to corrosion compared to austenitic grades.  
  • Martensitic Stainless Steels: Machined components made with martensitic stainless steel are commonly used to make surgical equipment and knife blades. This steel has high carbon content and can be made harder with heat treatment processes.
  • Superalloys: Superalloys are nickel-based alloys that are extremely strong and can resist high temperatures and highly corrosive environments, hence are used in harsh conditions. Machined components made with superalloys are used in jet engines and fittings carrying hazardous material. It is extremely difficult to make machined components from superalloys.
  • Titanium Alloys: Machined components made of titanium alloys are used in the making of aircraft, space crafts, and racing motorsports, as titanium has great strength. Titanium machined components are also used in joint implants like hip and knee replacements.  

Commonly Used Machined Components

High precision machined components are used across a wide range of harsh and extreme environments like nuclear, oil, defense, and aerospace industries. These components are usually machined from materials to resist heat, pressure, steam, and corrosion. Some of the commonly available machined components are:

  • Injection Molds
  • Precision Blow Molds
  • Extrusion heads and tooling
  • Defense industry components
  • Medical extrusion tooling
  • Aerospace components

How are Machines Components Designed?

Machine components are designed through a systematic process involving several key steps. Initially, designers define the component’s purpose, considering functionality and performance requirements. Detailed specifications and constraints are then established. Engineers perform simulations to assess structural integrity, stress points, and overall performance. Iterative prototyping and testing refine designs. The key steps involved in designing the machined components include:

  • Identify Equipment Need – Begin by identifying system issues to determine the need for new equipment or machinery, clarifying the purpose and goals.
  • Mechanism Selection – Evaluate and choose the most suitable mechanisms and motions that align with the intended machine’s functionality.
  • Force Analysis – Analyze forces acting on both moving and stationary machine parts to ensure structural integrity.
  • Material Selection – Based on force analysis, select materials with appropriate properties to meet design requirements.
  • Element Design – Design each machine element, determining dimensions to withstand stresses while maintaining stress levels below material limits. Apply suitable factors of safety to each element.
  • Modification – Modify the overall design considering available resources and cost constraints. Adapt the machine design to real-world market conditions.
  • Detailed Drawings – Create detailed drawings for each part, subassembly, and the overall machine, considering available manufacturing facilities and resources in the market.
  • Production – Manufacture components in line with the drawings in dedicated manufacturing units, following precise specifications.
  • Quality Checking – Conduct rigorous quality checks to ensure the machine meets safety and quality standards, addressing any potential issues.

This comprehensive design process ensures effective problem-solving, efficient manufacturing, and the delivery of high-quality and cost-effective machine or machine elements.

Why Select Forgewell Limited for Procuring Machined Components?

Forgewell Limited stands out as an exemplary choice for procuring machined components due to its commitment to excellence, advanced manufacturing capabilities, and a proven track record of delivering high-quality precision parts. With state-of-the-art facilities, Forgewell Limited employs cutting-edge machining techniques, ensuring optimal precision and efficiency. Some of the reasons to prefer this company for the development and manufacturing of machined components include:

  • The company’s dedication to quality is underscored by industry certifications, providing confidence in its manufacturing standards.
  • Forgewell’s experienced team collaborates closely with clients, offering tailored solutions to meet specific requirements.
  • Competitive pricing, reliable delivery schedules, and a reputation for exceeding client expectations
  • Forgewell Limited is a trusted partner for those seeking top-notch machined components in various industries.

Summary: Machined components have become an integral part of our daily life, as these components play a crucial role in all industrial setups. Right from medical, electrical, electronics, and automobile industries, machined components are used across diverse industries where end products are manufactured by joining together several machined parts. Manufacturing machined components require dedication, expertise, as well as advanced technology.