Peerless Precision is proud to be AS9100 and ISO 9001:2015-certified through 2024.
That statement may not mean much if you don’t require your manufacturing partner to uphold these certifications. But the truth is that all our customers benefit from the standards we must meet to secure and maintain these credentials.
Here’s what our status as an AS9100 and ISO-certified machine shop means for you.
What Are AS9100 and ISO Certifications?
AS9100 is the standard for designing, developing, or providing products and services specifically for the aviation, space, and defense industries. This includes parts, components, and assemblies.
ISO addresses various aspects of quality management for organizations regardless of industry. This standard is based on “principles including a strong customer focus, the motivation and implication of top management, the process approach, and continual improvement.” More than 1 million organizations and companies in more than 170 countries are ISO-certified.
Both AS9100 and ISO offer guidelines for organizations that want to improve the quality of products and consistently meet customer expectations. These standards establish rules throughout the entire manufacturing process, from providing a quote to the final part inspection.
When are AS9100 and ISO certifications essential?
Maintaining AS9100 and ISO 9001:2015 certifications is critical for businesses whose customers require these certifications. For example, aerospace and defense customers won’t partner with shops without AS9100 certifications. These standards guarantee customers get the same quality management procedures no matter which shop they choose.
How AS9100 and ISO Certifications Benefit Every Customer
Peerless Precision started the process of becoming an ISO and AS9100 machine shop before our customers required such standards. Our president Kristin Carlson’s late father saw the demand for these certifications coming and knew that Peerless should get ahead of the game.
Not every customer requires us to possess AS9100 and ISO 9001:2015 certifications. However, because we already have processes in place to maintain these standards, we follow AS9100 and ISO guidelines for every part we make to achieve the highest quality.
Our shop adheres to AS9100 and ISO standards in the following areas:
Raw material certifications
Inspection point guidelines (first part approvals, in-process inspections, and final inspections)
AS9100 and ISO standards are so ingrained into our services that our shop won’t even quote a part if we can’t inspect it properly! In some cases, that means acquiring specialized gauging or equipment for the inspection process.
AS9100 and ISO-Certified Machined Shops Produce High-Quality Parts
Being an AS9100 and ISO-certified machine shop allows Peerless Precision to provide the highest quality parts for all our customers.
Even if your business isn’t in the aerospace and American defense manufacturing industry, you can take advantage of the exceptional standards set by these certifications.
Use our secure form to request a quote for our CNC machining services today. We’ll respond to you within 24 hours.
“I had no idea how many closet bakers I had in this company who are making recipes from the heart—not reading recipes like I do.”
That’s what Peerless Precision’s president, Kristin Carlson, discovered during the company’s three-week holiday bake-off. The event is one of many fun activities the MA machine shop plans to repeat for its workers.
As a Peerless Precision employee, you don’t just clock in and clock out. Instead, you become part of a team that works hard and plays harder. Take a look inside the culture of our ISO-certified machine shop.
What Distinguishes Peerless Precision’s Culture
Here’s a brief overview of what sets our culture apart:
The team at Peerless Precision gets the job done while having a little fun in the process. In addition to the holiday bake-off—which had 95% participation from our MA machine shop— employees also enjoyed holiday parties and time off between Christmas and New Year’s Day. These perks give employees a chance to get to know each other better at work and unwind with their families at home.
We’re planning more fun events on our calendar, too. There’s talk of a chili cookoff for the Super Bowl in February and a rib cookoff during the summer. Plus, it’s not unheard of for Kristin to shut down the shop for an afternoon and take the team ax throwing as a stress reliever.
The work at Peerless Precision is interesting because it’s not monotonous. We don’t do high-volume production, so moving on to the next job is always a new experience.
Our management team continuously looks for ways to improve our aerospace machining and American defense manufacturing services—and we always welcome new ideas from our workers. We’re even introducing an employee engagement survey to learn how to enhance the work environment.
Peerless Precision is constantly growing. As we bring in new customers—and get more work from current customers—we plan to expand our team.
Although we have employees in our ISO-certified machine shop getting ready to retire, new hires can learn from these experienced workers before they leave and complete a smooth transition.
Team-Building Is a Priority a Peerless Precision
We designed Peerless Precision’s culture this way to promote team-building. Exciting projects and growth opportunities keep employees engaged. Fun activities allow them to find common ground and interests.
Let’s face it: when employees like each other, they work together better. And a team with a long history of collaboration takes excellent care of its customers.
How Our Culture Benefits Precision Machining Customers
Fostering a positive culture unites Peerless Precision employees as a team. Personal connections make workers want to stick around the shop for a long time. Our employee tenure ranges from three to nearly 30 years, with an average span of 10 to 15 years.
The longer employees stay with us, the more experienced they become with our equipment. They also learn more about our customers and the best ways to meet their needs. Over time, employees become more efficient at producing quality parts.
Quality begins with employees who care, and our employees care about the work, their team, and our customers.
Join Our Team!
Peerless Precision is the place for you if you’re looking for a shop that has fun, values hard work, and encourages growth.
Check out our careers page for the latest openings at our ISO-certified machine shop.
Or contact us to learn how to start your career at Peerless Precision.
When you think of Lean manufacturing, you probably associate it with improving efficiency and productivity on the precision machine shop floor. But manufacturers actually apply this methodology to many business areas.
Peerless Precision began incorporating Lean manufacturing principles on the shop floor in 2014, and we’ve been continuously improving ever since. Now, we’re expanding these ideas by conducting Lean office training, with plans to progress to Lean leadership training next.
This efficiency boost will impact our business and, more importantly, customers like you. Here’s how.
Lean Manufacturing in Practice
We use the Lean methodology to identify, reduce, and eliminate waste, which speeds up our response times and increases product value for our customers.
The Lean methodology inspires us to ask questions, such as:
How are we doing this task?
Why are we doing this task this way?
Is there a better way to complete this task?
Questioning the status quo and being open to new ideas enables us to see the full scope of what’s possible with our internal processes.
We can’t alter some processes because of quality certifications and customer requirements. Nevertheless, there are still plenty of opportunities to reduce waste in precision machining.
Here are eight areas of waste, according to Lean manufacturing principles:
Under or unutilized talent
When we use Lean manufacturing principles to eliminate waste in these areas, we streamline processes, reduce overhead, and cut costs. Benefits from these improvements inevitably trickle down to our customers.
Lean Office Training Examples
Here’s how we’re using Lean to optimize office workflows and improve customer service.
Example #1: Revamping our quoting process
Peerless Precision takes pride in our customer-friendly precision machining quoting process. We aim to have all the necessary information before quoting a part. This effort takes time, but we’re working to accelerate the process wherever possible.
Using Lean to review all the steps we take to provide a quote, we can see where to replace or cut steps that don’t offer substantial value. As a result, you get your quote faster. But rest assured, we’ll never sacrifice quality and accuracy for speed.
Example #2: Providing job status updates
Several years ago, Peerless Precision began using an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system to automate and manage our core processes. This significant upgrade from Excel spreadsheets gave us greater job status visibility. Now, we’re going a step further.
Lean manufacturing principles help us speed up our customer response time. For example, if you request an update on the status of your job, a manager can reference the ERP system for this information. Then, they can determine the next steps and send you a plan of action. We’ve found that this level of transparency greatly improves customer satisfaction.
Simply put, with Lean training, you can expect better service from Peerless Precision—from the shop floor to the back office.
When our team runs like a well-oiled machine, we can serve our customers faster and more efficiently.
Request a quote for our precision machining services today using our secure form. We’ll respond to your request within 24 hours.
At Peerless Precision, we know quality when we see it. If a material offers superior strength and functionality for our customers’ critical applications, we’ll always learn how to work with it—even when machining it can be a bit of a bear.
Take, for example, A286 stainless steel. Like most extremely strong materials, this precipitation-hardenable superalloy is challenging to machine. However, for many applications, its benefits far outweigh its drawbacks.
Common A286 Stainless Steel Part Types
A286 stainless steel is commonly used for parts such as:
Jet engine components
Benefits of A286 Stainless Steel
There are a few properties that make A286 a popular choice for aerospace and defense applications in particular.
A286’s exceptional strength enables it to withstand the extreme conditions to which aircraft parts are frequently exposed. Strong materials have excellent longevity, so aerospace manufacturers can rest assured they won’t have to replace A286 parts often.
A286 resists corrosion at temperatures up to 1,300 degrees Fahrenheit—a must for critical aerospace parts such as jet engine components. If your steel part will be in a corrosive environment, A286 is an ideal choice.
A286 is nonmagnetic, making it a great option for cryogenic components, like the submicro cryogenic cooling systems we manufacture for the US military. Using a nonmagnetic material ensures that the end assembly will function properly.
Drawbacks of A286 Stainless Steel
Just as every rose has its thorn, every strong material has various drawbacks to consider.
One thing A286 stainless steel isn’t is lightweight. Although materials like aluminum and titanium are far lighter, A286 is still commonly used due to its many beneficial properties.
Like many materials, A286 is fairly difficult to procure given current supply chain challenges. Depending on the size and amount needed, you could face a lead time of six months or longer when ordering A286.
A286 is up to 5x more expensive than other stainless steel grades. For this reason, we recommend reserving it only for parts that require its specific properties rather than using it as a go-to for generic parts.
The cost of using A286 is further increased by its slow precision machining runtime. This material can take up to 3x longer to machine than aluminum and other stainless steel alloys. And because A286 wears tools down quickly, pricing for machined parts also includes the cost of the additional tooling that will be required.
Finally, A286’s nonmagnetic properties extend how long it takes to perform secondary operations, such as surface grinding, since the material must be ground with a coolant. This process requires custom fixturing, which further increases cost and lead time.
Peerless Precision Specializes in Machining A286 Stainless Steel
At Peerless Precision, we’re no strangers to working with challenging materials like Inconel, tungsten, titanium, and A286. While some precision machine shops might no-quote projects involving these materials, we’ve found a way to master them for the benefit of our customers.
We recognize that A286 is essential to the industries we serve, so we’ve made it our business to machine it skillfully. And because we’ve been working with A286 for more than two decades, we know how to make the precision machining process as cost-effective and efficient as possible.
If you’re looking for a shop that won’t be intimidated by a challenge, give us a try. Request a quote today.
If you’ve requested quotes for precision CNC machining services over the past two years, chances are you’ve experienced sticker shock. High inflation rates and supply chain disruptions in the wake of the pandemic have affected all industries, including defense and aerospace machining companies like Peerless Precision.
We’ve done our best to maintain our standard prices for as long as possible, but the point has come where we have no choice but to charge more so that we can continue creating high-quality parts and stay in business.
However, one thing that hasn’t changed (and will never change) is our dedication to our customers. In the context of price increases, that means providing full explanations of any factors that may impact your quote.
With this brief explainer, we hope to shed light on the reasons behind price increases at Peerless Precision and instill confidence that we have your best interests at heart.
What’s Driving Price Hikes in Precision Machining?
In the spirit of full transparency, here’s a look at the factors driving our increased prices:
Material pricing patterns have become hard to predict. The cost of materials has increased dramatically since 2021—anywhere from 50% to a staggering 1,000%, depending on the material. What’s more, raw material prices that once remained stable for at least 30 days can now change overnight. Due to this constant state of flux, we cannot depend on historical pricing when creating a quote. Each time we quote a job, we have to review material costs and quote the material at its most current price.
Materials for aerospace and military applications can’t be purchased in advance. Specifications for aerospace and defense materials are frequently revised, and once a revision occurs, we have only 18 months to use the material purchased pre-revision. As a result, we can’t always buy materials in advance for parts in these industries. This makes our own pricing more variable because we have fewer opportunities to plan and purchase ahead.
For instance, the pre-pandemic cost of this ⅛” diameter, 12’ bar of 440C stainless steel was $18. Today, the same raw material costs more than $400.
Vendor, employee, and utility costs
Vendor prices have risen significantly, often without warning. Met with the same pricing uncertainty impacting our precision machine shop, our trusted subcontractors for services such as heat treating, plating, and non-destructive testing (NDT) often have to raise their prices abruptly. Because orders are placed well before these services are completed, the final price may be significantly higher than the quoted price. In fact, over the past six months, we’ve seen vendor pricing double in some cases. Even if you’re placing an order for a repeat part, you may see an increase in the price of outside finishing services to accommodate vendor costs.
Employee expenses continue to rise. We are committed to paying our highly skilled team members the wages they deserve, which means keeping up with regular pay raises. We’ve also absorbed cost increases in health insurance and Massachusetts paid family and medical leave (PFML) insurance as well as worker’s compensation and unemployment insurance. Our company’s health insurance plan alone costs nearly $5,000 more per month than last year.
Escalating utility and fuel costs impact our daily operations. Since the beginning of 2022, our electric bill has risen by 30%. We’ve also seen delivery costs spike to more than 3x the cost of the supply due to high gas prices. While we’ve implemented cost-saving measures such as closing the office for half a day on Fridays and filling our vehicles at the cheapest gas stations, utility and fuel costs still have a considerable effect on our bottom line.
How We’re Minimizing the Impact of Price Increases on Customers
Although high precision machining costs are often unavoidable, we’re taking steps to minimize the impact on our customers in small but meaningful ways.
Internally, we’re managing expenses by improving our efficiency to manufacture parts faster and tightening our belt for our own “nice-to-have” extras.
Peerless Precision will never compromise on quality when it comes to purchasing top-tier raw materials, paying our expert machinists the wages they deserve, or subcontracting trusted vendors for finishing and testing services. These costs will continue to be baked into our pricing.
However, we’ve found creative ways to cut costs internally for inessential but “nice-to-have” amenities. Rather than hiring vendors for office supplies and coffee services, for example, we’re buying office staples from big-box stores and purchasing and making coffee in house.
Cost-Saving Tip: Place Your Purchase Order ASAP
As a customer, one of the best ways for you to save costs and help control pricing is to place a purchase order as soon as possible after receiving a quote. If you wait a month between requesting a quote and submitting a purchase order, you may encounter vastly different pricing when you place the order. Moving quickly will minimize your risk of incurring additional price increases amid ongoing unpredictability.
To help underscore this point, we’ve added language to our quote form stating that pricing is subject to change at the time of order based on the volatility of raw material prices. We’re proud of our reputation for transparency, and we’ll always do our best to ensure you’re informed about any factors that could affect the cost of your order.
There Is a Price to Pay for Quality
Our quotes may be higher than some of our competitors’ quotes, but you can be confident that we will never cut corners.
There’s always a price to pay for quality. If a shop quotes you a low price right now, the quality of the part will likely be less than optimal. It’s also possible that the shop has missed something in the quote, which could require them to submit a change order or increase the price when you go to reorder.
We take great pains to make every quote as accurate as possible on the front end and encourage you to ask any questions you have about our pricing. If any other shop isn’t willing to do the same, it’s a red flag. A customer should never be afraid to ask questions.
Request a quote from Peerless Precision, and we will do everything in our power to give you an excellent experience.
Customers who place an order with our tight tolerance machine shop understandably want their parts as quickly as possible. But lightning-fast turnaround times aren’t always realistic, especially at shops like ours that emphasize precision and quality.
There are various factors at play that impact part turnaround. From the time we receive a PO until the part is shipped to your door, we complete several steps that ensure the high level of quality you’ve come to expect from Peerless Precision.
Still, we know waiting for a part to be manufactured can be frustrating. In the spirit of transparency, here’s a behind-the-scenes look at what goes into manufacturing your parts so you can be confident that we’re spending every minute wisely.
Your Part’s Journey from PO to Delivery
Manufacturing a part at an AS/ISO-certified machine shop involves much more than simply running it through a mill or a lathe and sending it out for delivery. You can expect your project to follow this standard journey at Peerless Precision:
1. Contract review
Before physically making your part, we must develop a process and plan to ensure that we complete your order correctly the first time.
Conducting a contract review at the beginning of your project gives us an understanding of key requirements such as:
Finishing, including operations that may require outside vendor services
2. Order approval
During the approval stage, our internal team has the opportunity to finely tune our internal router/traveler and ensure that everyone is aligned on the manufacturing process. The plan goes out to our engineering, quality, and production departments for review. They may, for example, identify unnecessary operations or add operations that were initially overlooked. We’ll make any adjustments to the manufacturing process at this stage before finalizing your order.
3. Sourcing materials
With the necessary approvals, it’s time to start ordering materials. Years ago, this part of the process was relatively straightforward. However, due to ongoing global supply chain challenges, lead times for materials are far more unpredictable and can change at a moment’s notice.
No matter what, we communicate openly every step of the way and will notify you if lead times are different than initially anticipated.
Programming is the final step before we begin physical work on your parts. We give our programmers the part design and traveler in advance so they can set up and program the machines to prove out the precision machining process.
Depending on the complexity of your part, this step could take anywhere from a few hours to a few days.
5. Sawing and machining
Now the fun begins! Once we receive the material, we send it to our sawing department to be cut into lengths or slugs.
If the material we ordered is pre-cut, it will go directly to the applicable machining department—typically milling or turning.
6. First piece approval
Whenever we run an operation—whether on a repeat or new part number—the first part goes through First Piece Inspection with our inspection department.
Our inspection team compares their measurements to the measurements recorded by the operator and the dimensions on the part drawing. If all measurements are in alignment, they give their stamp of approval to continue production. This thorough approach aims to ensure that the part is entirely within spec.
Once the operator has received the approval, they inspect each part that comes off the machine 100% to ensure that all parts are identical to the approved part.
7. Next machining operation
If a part requires precision machining operations on multiple pieces of equipment (e.g., starting on a mill and then being moved to a lathe), it won’t just jump the line when it goes to the second machine! Instead, it will be added to the queue of orders.
To ensure the highest level of quality, we inspect all parts before and after these services are performed.
9. Cylindrical or surface grinding
We perform cylindrical or surface grinding to work down tolerances and achieve surface finishes as low as 6 or 8 Ra.
When a customer requires exceptionally tight tolerances (down to one-millionth of an inch and/or a 2 Ra Surface Finish), we may send their part to our honing or lapping departments, where our experts perform these manual, time-intensive operations. If assembly is involved, the parts will go in to our assembly department before going through a final inspection.
Finally, we ship parts according to our customer’s requirements. Customers will often indicate that a part could arrive to them a specified number of days early or late and still be considered on time. We’ll ensure delivery falls within that window, even if it means we have to hold parts in our inventory.
High-Quality Parts Are Worth the Wait
In a perfect world, we’d be able to machine parts that are perfectly in spec and ready for use with the snap of our fingers.
But precision machining isn’t so simple—at least not when you’re dealing with tight tolerance parts for high-risk industries. Waiting a little longer to get a high-quality part from an AS/ISO-certified machine shop is almost always worthwhile because you can be confident that they won’t cut corners.
If you’re concerned about long lead times, we recommend checking your design for opportunities to simplify features or loosen tolerances. You’re the expert on your part design, but we’re happy to engage in a conversation with you about optimizing the manufacturability of your part to streamline our process.
No-quoting is an unfortunate reality of the precision machining industry. But at Peerless Precision, we do everything possible to avoid no-quoting our customers.
Instead of seeing projects through the black and white lens of quoting or not quoting, we like to focus on how we can solve our customers’ manufacturing problems, particularly if a project can’t be quoted in its original state.
We gain immense fulfillment from sharing our hard-earned knowledge with customers—so much so that we’re willing to find a solution even when we aren’t guaranteed a high return on our investment.
It’s impossible to recount all the problems we’ve solved over the years, but we want to highlight several recent examples.
Behind the Scenes: Solving Precision Machining Problems
Precision machining isn’t always straightforward. But we love a challenge and relish the opportunity to grow with our customers! Here are some ways we’ve collaborated with our customers to work through their manufacturing challenges instead of no-quoting them.
Example #1: Making a turret base easier to manufacture
Our customer needed a turret base made to support a camera. Initially, they requested that we order a large, solid block of expensive material and machine features and bores that would be incredibly difficult to access. We worked with them to transform their part into a 3-piece assembly instead.
This adjustment made it easier for us to keep the bores and features within tolerance and lowered the overall material cost by allowing us to buy three smaller plates of aluminum instead of one large block.
Example #2: Changing the material requirement for cells
A customer came to us with a design for cells, requesting that they be manufactured from tubes of extruded aluminum rather than solid round bars.
This specification posed a significant challenge because the tubing and extrusion process that shapes the aluminum into a tube emphasizes the material’s inconsistencies. In this case, the tube had black striations throughout. While we were able to temporarily remove them with matte blasting, the plating process brought out the imperfections once again.
We collaborated with the customer’s engineering department to change the requirement from a tube to a solid aluminum bar. We then worked with them to select a material supplier we could trust to produce high-quality material, avoiding future issues.
Example #3: Selecting a different grade of brass
Recently, a customer requested a quote for a part and asked for a specific grade of brass in sheet form. There was just one small problem: the grade they needed didn’t exist in sheet form.
We can’t quote a project unless we can get the material, so we were temporarily stuck. We explained to our customer that if getting the material in sheet form was the top priority, they would need to consider a different grade of brass. If the grade of brass was more important, we could order the material for them in plate or round bar form.
Instead of saying “It can’t be done,” we provided options. Our customer ultimately decided to select a different grade of brass in sheet form, allowing us to finalize the quote and make their parts.
Example #4: Connecting a customer with a plating supplier for support
One of our customers asked for a specific plating technique for their part that hasn’t existed in 20 years. We presented them with viable alternatives that would yield equivalent outcomes and asked them to pick the one they preferred.
We even connected the customer with our plating contractors so they could talk to their teams about each process and ask specific questions. Unlike many other precision machine shops, we have no problem being transparent about the suppliers we work with—especially when doing so benefits our customers.
Example #5: Negotiating prices to stay within budget
There are times when we’re willing to negotiate prices to meet our customers’ needs.
Recently, we quoted a job that ended up costing significantly more than our customer hoped to spend. They called us to discuss their programming and tooling needs and said if we could get as close to their desired price as possible, they’d award us the bid. We collaborated with them and found an opportunity to lower our original price—and win the contract.
Example #6: Loosening tolerances to make parts more machinable
For example, if the wall thickness you specify is too thin, it may be impossible for us to hold the tolerance and maintain the part’s functionality. At that point, we’ll engage in a conversation with you about why you need the specified tolerance to see if there’s an opportunity to loosen it.
Why settle for no-quotes when you can work with a precision machining partner who will go the extra mile to solve your manufacturing challenges? Request a quote from Peerless Precision today!
If you’re unfamiliar with CMMC, it’s the Department of Defense (DOD) unified standard to ensure the defense industrial base prevents cyberattacks and protects information from foreign adversaries. By 2026, all DOD suppliers and subcontractors in American defense manufacturing must meet CMMC certification standards. Luckily, our customers can rest assured that they’re already in good hands.
What You Need to Know About CMMC
Even if you buy parts for an industry outside of defense, you benefit from working with a precision machine shop that’s CMMC compliant. After all, information security is critical in all sectors amid the ongoing threat of cybercrime.
At Peerless Precision, we aim to give our customers peace of mind by meeting requirements that make everybody’s information safer. Though it isn’t happening yet, we believe that the medical, optical, and aerospace industries will eventually seek out shops that meet CMMC requirements to benefit from the best practices followed.
For DOD purposes, CMMC certification has 3 levels that correspond to a precision machine shop’s place in the defense supply chain. Because we’re subcontractors to prime contractors of the DOD, we must be compliant at level 2—where we currently have a perfect compliance score.
Peerless Precision’s Approach to Cybersecurity
Achieving a perfect score on our assessment for CMMC certification was no small feat. We began working toward this standard in 2018, and since then, we’ve significantly changed how we operate to ensure all customer information that comes through our shop is secure. Here are some of the steps we’ve taken to protect your data in compliance with DOD regulations:
Hired a new IT company. We now work with an IT company that specializes in strategic security and understands our needs. They’ve helped us implement stronger systems and train employees on cybersecurity threats and best practices. Additionally, they’ve been able to make recommendations to help us meet CMMC standards.
Refined computer security measures. Before starting our journey toward CMMC compliance, we had computers on our precision machine shop floor that weren’t password-protected and that anyone could use. Now, everyone has personal login information that is stored according to protocols and best practices.
Implemented secure backups. We back up all of our data offsite every 24 hours so that if a fire or other disaster were to occur, we would retain all important information.
Strengthened protocols for remote workers. Remote work is a reality of the 21st century, so we’ve ensured that it doesn’t pose any security risks by implementing multi-factor authentication and prohibiting USB drives that aren’t thumbprint-protected inside our shop.
Trained our staff. Cybersecurity threats compound when employees don’t know how to protect themselves. We regularly train and test everyone who has access to a computer in cybersecurity and CMMC compliance.
Segregated information. Before working toward CMMC compliance, all employees had access to information about any job. Now, documents are segregated, and access to drawings and job files is significantly limited, so employees receive information on a need-to-know basis.
If you want to work with a partner who understands the importance of data security and will work diligently to keep your information protected, request a quote from our precision machine shop today!
Parts with tight tolerances are our specialty—we don’t call ourselves Peerless Precision for nothing! So you may be surprised to see us advocating for looser tolerances. But hear us out:
If your costs and lead times for a specific part are higher and longer than you’d prefer, it’s worth investigating that part’s tolerances.
While tight tolerances are non-negotiable for many applications, like fuel flow or hydrogen systems, there are times when tolerances can be loosened without impacting part functionality, resulting in lower costs and faster lead times.
Our Tolerance Philosophy at Peerless Precision
We take pride in our ability to machine parts to our customers’ most precise specifications, achieving tolerances as tight as a millionth of an inch when required.
Because we’re known for being a tight tolerance machine shop, we always give our customers the benefit of the doubt when they design a part with exceptionally tight tolerances. We trust that they know their part’s requirements—and that they came to us for a reason—so we never change a design or give our opinion unless asked.
While customers don’t always ask us about tolerances specifically, they often have questions about costs. The reality is that whenever a zero is added to a tolerance, you’re guaranteed to add a zero to the price of your part. So when customers reach out to us with budgetary concerns, one of our first suggestions is that they evaluate their tolerance requirements to see if there’s room for flexibility.
Loosening Tolerances to Improve Costs and Lead Times
High-precision parts with tight tolerances take longer to machine, requiring numerous precision machining operations and, in some cases, secondary finishing processes like grinding, honing, or lapping.
By loosening a part’s tolerances, customers can reduce manufacturing time, resulting in cost savings.
Although there’s an inclination to design parts with the tightest tolerances possible to ensure functionality, we advise customers to conduct research and development for each new part to ensure they aren’t over-tolerancing unnecessarily. We’re big believers in research and development here at Peerless Precision and are always happy to help with that process.
But this recommendation doesn’t only apply for prototypes and new designs. There’s also value in revisiting parts that have already been in production. Something as simple as measuring existing parts can provide helpful information regarding your part’s tolerances.
Recently, one of our customers measured a part made by another vendor that they wanted to transfer to us. They found that while the parts in their inventory didn’t meet their design specifications, they still functioned properly. This discovery proved that they’d over-toleranced the part and indicated that they could save money on future runs by adjusting their design. We worked with them to loosen their tolerances and create a more budget-friendly part without compromising functionality.
Whether your parts need the tightest tolerances imaginable or slightly looser ones, you’ll find a great precision machining partner in Peerless Precision. Request a quote today!
When designing a 3D model for precision CNC machining services, the possibilities are virtually endless. But just because you can include certain features or tolerances doesn’t always mean you should.
Precision machining has its limitations, and when engineers take these limitations into account during the design process, they can transition smoothly to manufacturing, saving valuable time and money.
At Peerless Precision, we want our customers to have all the necessary information to create the best designs possible. That’s why we developed an eBook dedicated to design best practices for CNC machined parts.
Design for Manufacturing: Best Practices for CNC Machined Parts
High-precision parts with tight tolerances are challenging to design and machine. Here are a few of the most common design tips we offer engineers to improve part functionality, lower costs, and save time:
Avoid thin walls when possible
Design fractional diameter holes in the corners of mating parts
Use bosses to define surface flatness
1. Avoid thin walls when possible
Leveraging our precision machining expertise, we can achieve a wall thickness of about 0.003” depending on factors like part type and material. Still, the thinnest walls possible typically aren’t the most functional or budget-friendly option for your part.
Recently, a customer requested a wall thickness of 0.002” for titanium cones, but together, we determined that 0.003” or 0.004” would be sufficient. Machining a slightly thicker wall allowed us to streamline our precision machining process and deliver the customer’s parts faster.
2. Design fractional diameter holes in the corners of mating parts
Mating parts, like valve or piston sleeves, require a high level of precision, but we can still find ways to save time and money machining them.
For instance, it’s possible to optimize cost and lead time by designing fractional diameter holes in the corners of the part, which enables us to machine the part’s profile more easily. While this solution isn’t appropriate for show parts or other parts with high aesthetic standards, it’s an option to consider for certain projects.
We ensure that mating parts fit together perfectly by asking our customers for samples to use as fit gauges. Although we always build parts to exact specifications, having a sample part to check the fit against is helpful.
A final note on designing mating parts: remember that tolerances stack, so if you’re using a tolerance of +/- 0.005”, you’ll need a clearance of at least +/- 0.010” between parts.
3. Use bosses to define surface flatness
Surface flatness is achieved when each point along the surface of an object lies in the same plane. We can check for flatness by seeing how the surface fits between two parallel planes.
When machined surfaces need a high degree of flatness, bosses can be used to clearly define what areas need to be flatness controlled. Bosses can also simplify painting and other finishing operations.
Flat surfaces are difficult to machine, but at our precision machine shop, we can achieve superior surface flatness. Understanding the minimum surface flatness for your part’s functionality is a great way to save time and money during precision machining.
For more helpful design tips for CNC machined parts, download our eBook today! When you’re ready for precision machining services, go ahead and request a quote on our website.