How to Start a Job Flat and Keep it That Way
Many of the close tolerance Machine-Ready Blanks we produce at TCI Precision Metals are flat and designed to stay that way. Demand for flat material that resists movement during machining is high for two reasons, one, part movement can turn parts into scrap, and two, creating flat material, on your shop floor, that resists movement is harder than many people might think.
Aluminum, stainless steel (plate and sheet) and other alloys can be deceiving; the materials might look flat, but when you start machining it internal stresses are unleashed, and the part starts to move. The result can be minimal to ridiculous with finished parts bowing or looking like potato chips. The problem is typically compounded as the surface dimensions of the material increases and the thickness of the material decreases.
At TCI Precision Metals we are called on by customers to produce flat, close tolerance material every day. Prepping material that starts out flat and has a greater likelihood of staying flat is harder than it might seem. The process is as much art and craftsmanship as it is science. The fact is, you can not see the residual stress introduced into the material during the manufacturing process, you can only see the results of it as parts start to move. Sometimes locating and releasing hidden stress becomes a frustrating game of hide-n-seek.
For more than 60-years, we have been chasing and releasing stress from plate and sheet material to provide customers with precision Machine-Ready Blanks that resist movement. We are able to provide excellent results based on years of investment in our people, processes, and optimized equipment capable of volume efficiency.
It is important to share not only your tolerance specifications when ordering Machine-Ready Blanks, but also discuss other aspects of your job with our staff that could affect expectations, such as heat treating, and pre- and post-machining processes that might impact part movement. A Machine-Ready Blank is not just a Blank, each one is the beginning of a high-quality part.
In addition to our ability to deliver flat material, that has a tendency to stay that way, our Machine-Ready Blanks, in general, can help you increase throughput by up to 25%. With a single purchase order, you can receive custom precision blanks ready to load directly into your CNC machining centers; eliminating the need for in-house sawing, grinding, flattening, squaring operations and outside processing. Each blank arrives deburred, clean and to your specifications – guaranteed as close as +/- .0005” dimensionally and as close as .0002” flatness, squareness, and parallelism. This allows you to get right to the high-value process of finish machining.
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