How can you pinpoint a superior precision machining partner? It starts with checking out what happens behind shop doors. Ask them about the following critical aspects of their business….

Is Their Shop’s Equipment The Right Fit For Your Parts?

Machine shops are often tasked with machining cast parts to ensure that they meet requirements for shape, design, and accuracy.  If you have a complex part and the shop has old machines, they are probably not a good fit for you.  If you have a simple part and the shop only has high tech equipment, they are probably not a good fit for you. Inspecting the equipment of a partner for your precision machining parts is a crucial consideration.

Look For Industry Expertise And Experience

When you are considering a machining supplier, their capabilities are only part of the story. Partnering with an organization that has a deep understanding of your industry, including applicable standards, will help your project succeed. If the potential supplier has worked on machined parts for other customers like yourself, they quickly understand how to navigate challenges during the machining process. They can also provide recommendations on how to improve part manufacturability.

Evaluate Lead Times

Another critical factor to examine when choosing precision machining services is lead times. Basically, you want to know whether a manufacturing partner can machine and deliver a part within your required timeframe. In most cases, quality machine shops will list their usual turnaround times; however, these vary based on the scale and complexity of your manufacturing job.

Consider Communication

Not too long ago, finding a manufacturing service partner involved combing through phone books, making calls, and collecting cost estimates. And there’s also the obvious language barrier with international precision manufacturing companies. Finding the right partner could therefore be very time-consuming. Today, however, thanks to advances in computer technology, communication is easier than ever. You could reach out to 20 rapid prototyping services in under an hour for quotes if you needed to.

Check For Certifications

When looking at a precision machine shop website look for the company’s certifications. AS9100 is a widely adopted and standardized quality management system for the aerospace industry. It was released in October, 1999, by the Society of Automotive Engineers and the European Association of Aerospace Industries. ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) is the integrated management of main business processes, often in real time and mediated by software and technology. ISO 9001:2015 specifies requirements for a quality management system. The ITAR has a requirement for any company that manufactures and/or exports defense articles to register with them. Defense articles may include any hardware, technical data, and/or services related to an item that has been manufactured or modified for a military application. A superior precision machine shop will be able to put any prospective customer at ease by demonstration that thy have rock-solid processes in place and will be able to show their certification.

Check Out The Digital Capabilities

You will want to evaluate what technologies and systems they offer. This is important for several reasons. For one, if your part requires five-axis CNC machining, there is no point in starting discussions with a service that only has three-axis machines. Instead, check the service’s machine roster, usually listed on websites, to ensure they have the manufacturing equipment you need. How robust is the shop’s cybersecurity? Do they work with an IT company? The right precision machining partner will have taken careful steps to ensure customer data is protected at all times. Do they have a professional email address? Is their website easy to navigate? These are all green flags for taking the next step.

Kept Relationships

Yes, relationships. Instead of the “service” word, look for a partner who has connections with their clients. A bond is more than a screen-to-screen conversation; look for an accountable partner who you know by name and face. It’s known throughout the psychological world that business relationships are better when they grow as an actual type of friendship.  When looking for a long-term precision machining partner, it is crucial to find a shop that can grow with you. You want to know if the shop you are choosing will be around for the long haul.
Overall, finding the right machining service can make or break your project. The good news is that once you find the right manufacturing partner, you can keep working with them for years. It’s all about the right fit for your needs.

Contact us (731-584-4681) to start a no-obligation discussion about your project.

About Palmer Tool

Palmer Tool completes critical jobs on-time and on-budget. Since 1966, Palmer has taken on jobs that other shops and contractors either didn’t want, or just couldn’t do. We can fabricate parts in our shops, visit you at your plant, or meet you at on-location (ie. logging, mining, construction, etc.). From the toughest repairs to the most complex new assembly, we’ve seen and done it all. Over the past 50+ years, Palmer has maintained our reputation as a trusted expert welder and fabricator of non-ferrous alloys in demanding applications (high pressure + high temperature chemical plants). Our hard-facing applications, and robust designs, have successfully extended the service life of countless industrial “extreme service” components, saving our clients’ money! Palmer Tool and Contractors provide on-call emergency services 24/7, because we understand that in manufacturing “the clock never stops”.