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. Machined components are extremely popular in the manufacturing industry as turbines, automobiles, airplanes, ships, and railways all contain machine components.
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
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.