26 Jan The Secret Life of Precision Engineering Components
Precision engineering is often thought of as a process that’s solely utilised for specialist components in complex machinery. While this is one area where it’s used, the advanced manufacturing technique is also behind many of the items we all rely on every single day.
From refrigerators to jewellery, there’s barely an area of daily life that’s not characterised by the technology that manufactures intricate components in a reliable and repeatable manner.
A World Touched by Precision
Precision engineering is a process that allows for the fast, accurate and repeatable manufacture of components. These are used to create a multitude of everyday items. While some of these are quite obvious, such as electronics, others produced using the technology might come as more of a surprise.
Some examples include:
· White goods, such as dishwashers and washing machines
· DIY tools, including gardening implements and electric drills
· Computers, tablets, and phones
· Wind turbines
· Domestic boilers
· Garden furniture
· Personal care items, such as electric toothbrushes and hairdryers
So what is precision engineering? How does it work and what are the
Precision Engineering Explained
In its most basic terms, precision engineering is a machine or instrument that can be programmed to manufacture complex parts with a high level of accuracy. The process used to involve complicated calculations to be made by highly skilled engineers, but the advent of computer-aided design (CAD) and computer-controlled (CNC) machinery has streamlined the process. This has driven down costs, allowed for the production of far more intricate parts, and sees the tech utilised in virtually every manufacturing sector.
The size of parts produced are incredibly accurate, down to within 5 microns in size. This accuracy is reproduced over and over again, meaning that even the smallest and most complex elements can be replicated as many times as needed.
This accuracy is achieved by first creating a 3D example. This is mapped into a bespoke software programme that designs a pathway that maps the exact path necessary for the cutting machine to follow. This includes the angles, pressures and other movements needed for a faithful replica to be made every time.
The advantages this has brought are quite astonishing and include the following:
· Reduced manufacturing costs: The high level of accuracy of the produced parts dramatically reduces any waste, such as the scrapping or remodelling of parts that aren’t quite correct. In addition, the initial costs of designing the parts are also lower, thanks to the use of advanced software and technology.
· Faster production: Because of the reliability afforded by precision engineering, less quality control and inspection measures are necessary. This translates into easier and more speedy production of the finished articles.
· Extended lifespan: The more accurate the component parts, the less stress is placed upon these and component parts. This leads to tools and machinery with excellent longevity, something that creates consumer confidence and further increases the product desirability.
· Increased safety: Reliable products are safe products. A high level of accuracy within the smallest parts of any machinery or item drastically reduces the chance of malfunction. In turn, this reduces the chances of a catastrophic failure that could represent a safety risk to users and all the associated implications this might have.
Precision engineering might not be the sexiest of subjects, but there aren’t many people in the western world who don’t rely on the process every day – even if they don’t realise it. So next time you reach for your phone or take your perfectly cooled milk from the refrigerator, spare a thought for the wonder that is precision engineering. Our world would be a rather different place without it…
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If you found this article useful then you might also like “Local Precise Machining in the Oil and Gas Industry: A Case Study” and “Rapid Prototyping Made Easy With CNC Machining“