Many of us tend to group companies who manufacture items in metal together under the banner of general ‘engineering’. When you think about it however many components in aircraft engines, scientific or medical machinery for example are likely to be very small, specific, and vitally important in terms of what is at stake in terms of human health and suffering if they are not accurate or strong enough, or not of the right quality. Engineering companies who manufacture these types of components are also likely to need to manufacture large numbers of these components with no room for error in any of them, and no variation in the specifications or the high quality level that will be expected by the customer and needed by the user.
This highlights the importance of some very important factors that help to define Precision Engineering:
- Accuracy. Although this is important in Precision Engineering this is something that’s important to all engineering. CNC Milling and Turning Milling machines however have helped to maintain a good level of accuracy.
- Precision. It sounds obvious but it isn’t the same as accuracy. Whereas accuracy is how closely you can get a measurement to a value, precision is all about having a system that can repeat or reproduce measurements in unchanged conditions so that you’re able to get the same result.
- Predictability and control, not variations are important. This is one of the reasons why one hit CNC Milling and Turning has become so sought after. The product being worked on never doesn’t leave the Milling Centre throughout its manufacturing process. Each product is worked on with the same tools, by the same program in the same conditions so that the predictability and engineering precision can be closely maintained. There are time savings and cost savings from the simultaneous performance of different tasks, the energy efficiency of modern milling machines, and the fact that only one machine needs to be set up and operated.
- Today’s CNC Milling machines are the descendants of machines first developed by the U.S. Air Force and MIT in the 1940s and 1950s who needed a cost-effective way of manufacturing some very complex parts in a cost-effective way.
- Quality. A Precision Engineering company needs to make sure that the quality is always high and that things are done right first time every time. The use of modern milling machines can of course help but quality is something that can’t just be the responsibility of the machines. Quality needs to be built into every aspect of a company and working to achieve ISO Certification is one way that a Precision Engineering company can make sure that this happens. Another way to help maintain and improve quality levels is to use a good software based material requirements planning system to help manage and control quality in all areas of the company and production processes. Investing in machinery and in the people in the company can both help towards this aim.