Aluminium alloys are some of the easiest metals to machine. The various grades of aluminium lend themselves to different applications – 6000 series are ideal for commercial work whereas high-strength 7000 series alloys with improved machining characteristics are well-suited for critical aircraft components and even the iPhone 6 (despite ‘Bendgate’)!
But, not every workshop you come across will be able to get the most out of this versatile metal across a range of applications...
Aluminium machining for complex projects in aerospace or motorsport sectors require a certain set of skills. If your current suppliers are struggling to fulfil projects to the quality needed at the right price, you'll need to try a different solution.
You want an engineering company with suitable capacity - the right machines and software - coupled with competent engineers who truly understand aluminium machining and the production of high-quality components. Here are five things to keep in mind when choosing a new supplier.
#1 Capacity and #2 Capability Factors
Undoubtedly, to manufacture complex components adequately the correct equipment is critical. Not all 5 axis machining centres are equal and, in conjunction with cheap software, capability can be severely compromised. For successful projects both quality hardware and software are prerequisite.
Top quality DMG 5 axis CNC machining centres with Open Mind Hypermill software allows machining of complex aluminium components to be pushed to the limits – making complex projects more straightforward. Advantages of this combination include
- the programmer can work from model rather than drawings.
- the advanced cycles Hypermill CAM software offers.
- the collision avoidance capability, it goes on…
#3 Passion for Quality - ISO 9001
A workshop with top of the range CNC machining centres and the best software is indicative of quality but to be certain, ISO 9001 approval is critical. Even if your current project doesn't need full traceability, for example, thorough quality management processes benefit all projects. Further, you can be confident that an ISO 9001 approved engineering company will emphasise quality throughout an entire project.
"Quality is in our blood! We'll always deliver your parts to spec, saving you time and money because:
1. you'll never have to rework incorrect parts in-house
2. you can ditch the paperwork and avoid the hassle of sending rejects back to your supplier."
#4 Managing an entire project
Ideally, you want to work with a company that can handle everything the whole project requires from start to finish. It's a nuisance trying to co-ordinate several suppliers for one project. Too many moving parts mean complicated logistics, almost inevitable delays and the risk of knock-on hold-ups along the chain.
Instead, a single supplier providing a machined part completed to the quality required, thoroughly inspected and delivered on time is ideal. A one stop workshop makes for a hassle-free project.
#5 Experienced engineers on hand
It helps if the project manager you speak to is an engineer with experience of aluminium machining, grades and their application who can understand the intricacies of your project. This expertise on tap means the engineer will get the most from the machines at his disposal and could even save you money. For example, if any issues crop up early in a project that person may be able to suggest design tweaks to make the machining more efficient. Improved efficiency means a better price for the customer!
"Our Quality Control processes catch errors early. So these will not be passed on to you – no reworking, no delays, no penalties downstream! Your margin will remain intact."
Selecting the right precision engineering company is not too difficult it just takes a bit of research. When you do you can expect the partnership to develop over years with many successful projects. That's what Axis PEC Ltd. are all about, partnerships with happy customers and successful headache-free projects completed on time.
Download and read our case study to see what a successful project looks like!