Sophisticated engineering objectives often require high-strength components manufactured to withstand high-stress, high temperature or corrosive environments – these situations routinely involve the machining of hardened steels and alloys. Manufacturing these components can be a challenging process in terms of retaining material integrity throughout the manufacturing process. The post-hardening machining of hardened steels and alloys using traditional methods such as milling and turning can potentially cause distortion issues, invisible internal faults or surface defects resulting in a component which is not acceptable within the bounds of tolerance and quality control. Whilst such defects may be acceptable for consumer level manufacturing, they are not acceptable in any degree to industries such as aerospace, energy markets, defence & military hardware, satellite & space vehicle development, professional motorsport such as Formula 1, AS9100 industries ie aviation, and other high-tech sectors. Therefore, a 21st century manufacturing approach needs to be taken.
Machining Hardened Steels and Alloys: World Class, Multi-Process Manufacturing
It is possible to achieve high quality machined parts & components when machining hardened steels and alloys using the following principles:
- Intelligent use of multi-process and multi-operation machining facilities work to overcome quality issues often encountered when machining hardened steels and alloys. Combining processes such as 5 axis machining with wire erosion EDM, or CNC mill turn with spark erosion EDM can quickly overcome manufacturing quality issues
- Applying lean manufacturing principles when machining hardened steels and alloys keep manufacturing costs to a minimum. Skilful, experience and proactive pre-production engineering, production planning and production management, overseen by AS9100 QMS standards ensures that waste is minimised, human error is removed and quality is ultra-high
- Using guidelines and experience gained whilst operating certification standards such as AS9100 revision C & ISO 9001, and membership of the SC21 Supply Chain Improvement Programme, red tape can be minimised & supply chains optimised, resulting in further cost savings for the customer, the manufacture of world class components and timely delivery.
- Operating specialist manufacturing cells capable of machining hardened steels and alloys to a high standard, focused around just-in-time machining and rapid response machining maintains flexible, world class manufacturing options to handle challenging schedules
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